Strengthening the health of rural and remote Western Australian communities

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1 Strengthening the health of rural and remote Western Australian communities Photo courtesy Dr Michiel Mel

2 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: The Gunbarrel Highway. Welcome to rural Western Australia This booklet aims to give you an overview of the many services Rural Health West provides. For more than 20 years, Rural Health West (formerly known as the Western Australian Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine Limited WACRRM) has delivered a range of programs designed to attract and retain health professionals to country Western Australia. Rural health practitioners are valued members of their communities and have the opportunity to enjoy varied and interesting experiences at both a personal and professional level. Belinda Bailey Chief Executive Officer 2

3 Who is Rural Health West Rural Health West is an organisation concerned with the ongoing recruitment and retention of health workforce in country Western Australia. We not only administer a workforce recruitment service but also a wide range of services to support health professionals in rural and remote areas. Rural Health West knows that to retain health professionals in rural communities they require access to ongoing professional development. We deliver a choice of education workshops, online learning modules and conferences throughout the year. Our services extend to supporting spouses of health professionals and we also have a number of services tailored to support private practices to manage their business effectively. Rural Health West administers a variety of government financial grants eligible to health professionals. Most importantly, we are here to assist and to listen to ensure health professionals remain happy in the workplace and community. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have or suggestions of how Rural Health West can better assist you. T F E W 3

4 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: Ball oning over the Avon Va ley, Northam. Rural Health Select We ll find the perfect fit FREE AND PERSONALISED RECRUITMENT SERVICE Rural Health West s principal business is to provide an efficient and effective recruitment service. Rural Health Select is a FREE recruitment service focused on sourcing health professionals for general practices, allied health practices, Aboriginal Medical Services, Medicare Locals and aged care facilities in rural and remote Western Australia. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the Western Australian Department of Health (WA Country Health Service, represented by Northern and Remote and Southern Country Health Services), Rural Health Select recruits suitably qualified Australian and International trained health professionals and is committed to the World Health Organization s Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. As a member of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association, we remain up-to-date and competitive with commercial agencies. Rural Health Select specialises in recruiting to rural and remote Western Australia and understands the varied and specialised skills that are required to practise in these areas. With a recognised and experienced team of recruitment consultants, our service is thorough and personal. We work closely with both the employer and the candidate to ensure we find the perfect fit and our service is provided FREE of charge. 4

5 Rural Health Select was fabulous in relaying information throughout the process, sometimes daily. I would definitely use this service again and would recommend other practices to use the recruitment services offered. Practice Manager, Harvey Medical Centre Locum Placement Service Rural Health Select also incorporates a FREE Locum Placement Service that sources unconditionally registered general practitioners keen to complete locum assignments in rural and remote Western Australia. We recruit local and interstate suitably qualified general practitioners interested in country practice. We liaise with the Host Practice and Locum doctor to arrange salary, accommodation, travel, Medicare provider number and hospital credentialing. The Rural Health Select Locum Placement Service offers attractive incentives and Locum doctors are invited to attend appropriate Rural Health West education workshops to assist with upskilling. 5

6 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: Re dell Beach, Broome. Thank you for a great weekend. It has been an inspiring and motivational conference Aboriginal Health Conference delegate Professional Development Rural Health West is aware of the need for health professionals to maintain and update contemporary clinical knowledge and skills so we offer a wide variety of educational workshops, conferences and programs. Our events aim to refresh skills and provide access to new information while also allowing you to connect and network with colleagues. Professional development opportunities are provided regionally, in Perth and online to ensure rural and remote health practitioners have improved access. Professional development opportunities include: Educational workshops covering obstetrics and gynaecology. Various emergency medicine workshops including the REACT course which assists with Country Health Services credentialing. Five educational conferences each year, with two held in regional areas and three in Perth. Supervised Clinical Attachments for surgical, anaesthetic, obstetric and emergency medicine. 10 Rural Doctors Broadcasts per year, accessible to all health professionals, that can be viewed on satellite television or on the Rural Health West website. 6

7 GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program This is a mentoring and support program for doctors who have recently completed their Basic or Advanced Diploma of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Doctors on the program are assigned an experienced GP obstetrician who supports them in consolidating their experience in a range of obstetric procedures. The program is a collaboration between Rural Health West, Country Health Services, Western Australian General Practice Education and Training Limited and King Edward Memorial Hospital. There are two intakes for the program each year. Rural Locum Relief Program Rural Health West administers the Rural Locum Relief program which provides access to Medicare benefits for doctors subject to Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act. It allows medical practitioners affected by the Health Insurance Act provider number restrictions to attract Medicare benefits while providing general practice services in rural and remote Australia. 7

8 Photo: Voyager Estate Winery. Five Year Overseas Trained Doctors Recruitment Scheme International Medical Graduates are required to gain Fellowship of a medical college as well as work in a District of Workforce Shortage area for up to ten years. The Five Year Overseas Trained Doctors Recruitment Scheme is aimed at alleviating general practitioner shortages and reducing the pathway to between three and five years, depending on the remoteness and history of general practitioner recruitment difficulty for the town. Scheme participants can access educational support to achieve Fellowship through the Additional Assistance Scheme. Additional Assistance Exam Support Program The Additional Assistance Exam Support Program is available to International Medical Graduates on the Five Year Overseas Trained Doctors Recruitment Scheme and Rural Locum Relief Program. This program provides funding for access to education with the aim of attaining Fellowship of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. 8

9 Orientation A comprehensive orientation program is provided to health professionals who have been recruited to rural and remote Western Australia. This is tailor-made to provide information specific to the particular area and town in which they will be living. For general practitioners, up to one week at a general practice may also be included to assist with orientation to the Western Australian health system. Family The Rural Health West Family Program provides support for the family of the health professional. This program includes assistance with travel to and from Rural Health West Conferences, provision of a Family Program at Perthbased Rural Health West Conferences and bursaries offered to assist spouses with education or training. 9

10 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: Ha nans North Tourist Mine, Kalg orlie. Workforce Development Practice and Business Support Service The Rural Health West Practice and Business Support Service provides information and resources to rural general practices and allied health practices on: Employment contracts and agreements A series of employment templates and independent contractor agreements, prepared in consultation with a specialist workplace relations law firm. Medicare and Medicare Benefits Schedule Fact sheets are available and advice is provided for the implementation of existing and new Medicare Benefit Schedule items into your practice. Practice Management Business Support Tool A resource tool that contains information to support the operations of a rural general practice for practice managers and principals. Area of Need and District of Workforce Shortage Assistance with Area of Need and District of Workforce Shortage applications and determination. Telehealth Support Rural Health West provides a range of information and support activities to assist medical professionals and practice staff to increase the uptake and sustainability of Telehealth services. Assistance is also provided to access Telehealth incentives and payments to improve patient access to medical services delivered remotely. Workforce Support Rural Health West administers several workforce support programs aimed at assisting practices to retain health professionals in the rural sector. 10

11 Future Workforce Rural Health West is conscious of the need to target and maintain communication with the future health workforce. We promote the benefits and options available through a rural health career to students, new graduates and qualified health professionals. A range of opportunities are available to gain rural exposure through student vocational experiences and conference scholarships. Rural Health West works closely with other future workforce stakeholder organisations to target specific health professions. Choose Country A rural career information service Rural Health West is a central point of contact providing information about working in rural Western Australia. We connect you to the right people in the right organisations for tailored country career advice. Rural Health West offers information on a variety of experiences across a range of hospital, community and general practice settings. Options are available for students, new graduates starting their careers and qualified health professionals interested in rural experiences. 11

12 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: Karri forest, near Pemberton. Outreach in the Outback Outreach in the Outback is a visiting medical services program funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and administered by Rural Health West. Outreach in the Outback programs provide outreach visits to urban, rural and remote locations. These visits are made by individual medical specialists and/or teams comprising of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who provide the following medical services: The treatment of chronic diseases in Indigenous communities. Team care arrangements for antenatal and postnatal women. Ophthalmology to target eye health in rural communities. The programs support outreach medical services to rural and remote communities who would not otherwise have access to these services. The Outreach in the Outback program also includes the Integrated Diabetes and Endocrinology Service. This service was established in December 2011 by the Western Australian Department of Health to plan, pilot and evaluate a visiting integrated diabetes and endocrinology service delivery model for public patients in outer metropolitan Perth and rural Western Australia. These services are provided across the State covering over fifty locations from Kununurra to Albany and east to Tjuntjuntjara. 12

13 Data and Workforce Planning Rural Health West collates data from a comprehensive workforce survey of all general practitioners each year and compiles easy-to-read Fact Sheets based on components of the annual Minimum Data Set Report and Workforce Analysis Update. In 2012, Rural Health West expanded its workforce profiling through surveys of rural resident specialists, nursing and allied health professionals. Rural Health West also works closely with local Shires and private industry to look at innovative ways to combat the current shortage of health professionals in rural and remote areas. Our website provides detailed information on how we can assist in these areas. 13

14 Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia: Leschenault Inlet, Australind. Financial Incentives Rural Health West administers the General Practice Rural Incentives Program Flexible Payments System (FPS) funded by the Australian Government. The program aims to encourage medical practitioners to relocate and practise in rural and remote communities and to promote careers in rural medicine through retention incentive payments. The FPS applies to medical practitioners who provide eligible primary care services outside the Department of Human Services (formerly known as Medicare) billing system that would not be adequately reflected in the Medicare records. Communication Rural Health West communicates with rural health professionals through monthly e-bulletins and quarterly through our magazine Rural Health Matters. We are here to assist you so please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with feedback or questions on the services we provide. Our aim is to strengthen the health of rural and remote communities by recruiting and retaining a high quality and sustainable workforce. Let us work with you to ensure the communities of rural and remote Western Australia can continue to have access to excellent services. 14

15 Rural Health West Membership Rural Health West is a membershipbased organisation registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as a not-for-profit, public company that is limited by guarantee. The organisation is administered by a seven member Board made up of elected and appointed Directors. Health professionals practising in rural and remote Western Australia are invited to join the organisation through membership. Please visit the website for full details and to download an application form. As a not-for-profit organisation, Rural Health West is also able to accept donations. Donations are incorporated into the Family Program to enable greater assistance for spouses and families of health professionals in rural and remote Western Australia. 15

16 Level 2, 10 Stirling Highway Nedlands Western Australia 6009 PO Box 433 Nedlands Western Australia 6909 T F E W

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