THE federal government 2021/22 budget invested more than $800 million into a rural doctor training pipeline, improving the financial viability of rural practise and growing the regional health workforce.
It was one of the bigger spends on regional health in recent history, with measures the government says will make immediate and tangible impacts.
Bulk billing should become more widespread in the bush, with a $65 million boost in the budget.
The rural bulk billing incentive will increase between 10 to 40 per cent, with the more remote the area, the greater the payment general practitioners will receive per consultation.
This means doctors practicing in rural and remote areas will be able to receive an incentive payment of up to $12.35 per consultation. More than 12,000 rural and remote GPs will be eligible for the increased bulk billing incentive.
More junior doctors will receive rural training experiences through the new $12.4m John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Training Program.
Research shows doctors who complete their training in regional areas are more likely to stay long-term as they establish themselves within the community.
The Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway, which received $9.6m, follows the same principle. The training program will focus specifically on generalist, as their training allows them to provide medical care in a wider range of circumstances.
Almost $30m will be used to trial new regional training models with the aim of keeping more specialists training in rural settings, rather than them needing to relocate to training hospitals in metropolitan areas.
More than $17.7 billion was poured into national age care reforms, including $630.2m to improve access to quality aged care services for consumers in regional, rural and remote areas.
Rural aged care will also benefit from $ for rural locum assistance and $13.4m to strengthen regional aged care stewardship.
Mental health and suicide prevent received $2.3 billion, including $248m for early intervention, and almost $300m for suicide prevention.
Almost 50 mental health facilities, worth $1.4b, of varying sizes will be built across the country.