IN A boost for mums-to-be along the Mid North Coast, specialist maternity services are expect to proliferate in the years ahead.
The Federal Government has given the go-ahead for country GPs to apply for funding to assist them to complete procedural training in obstetrics.
Rural Doctors Association of Australia CEO Steve Sant said this funding would provide much-needed assistance to rural GPs looking to offer a greater level of service to their regions.
“Procedural skills, such as obstetrics, are very much in need in rural communities, many of which are at risk of losing their current maternity and surgical services,” Mr Sant said.
“Thousands of country women have no local maternity services available to them and must travel several hours from their homes and families to give birth.
“Increasing the number of GPs able to deliver babies at local hospitals will make a huge difference to these rural families.
“We are encouraged to see the Gillard Government acting on the findings of their Maternity Services Review report that highlighted the need for better access to high-quality maternity services and more support for the maternity services workforce in rural and remote Australia.”
Mr Sant said the RDAA was also looking forward to seeing the anaesthetic training component of this $5 million initiative for country GPs to be delivered soon.
He said that recognition of Rural Generalists as a specialist area and providing the necessary training early on would also help address the critical shortage of highly trained rural doctors.
“We have been advocating for the implementation of a National Rural Generalist Training Pathway to support and train rural doctors of the future,” Mr Sant said.
“The pathway would provide doctors with the high-level skills needed to serve rural communities, and recognise and reward them accordingly.
“If we can encourage more doctors into rural practice early on in their careers, then the need for initiatives such as these training grants will be greatly reduced,” Mr Sant said.