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$20,000 carrot to get nurses to the bush

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park in Walgett with Member for Barwon Roy Butler and James Harvey of the Western NSW Local Health District. Photo contributed

The NSW Government is doubling the incentives offered to healthcare workers to relocate to remote and rural areas, from $10,000 to $20,000 as part of its commitment to attract and retain more skilled staff in hard-to-fill and critical roles.

Attracting health workers to rural and remote locations is a challenge for all health organisations and governments.

Most regional health districts have nursing shortages, particularly around nurses with emergency skills for smaller facilities – and this applies in Bourke, Brewarrina, and Walgett Shires.

According to NSW Premier Chris Minns, workforce and skill shortages are contributing to inequitable health outcomes, which is why it is crucial to grow the workforce in rural and remote areas.

The Rural Health Workforce Incentive Scheme provides for a range of financial and non-financial incentives above typical remuneration packages for candidates in eligible roles and locations.

Incentive packages include a range of additional benefits including salary boost, sign-on bonuses, and retention payments of up to $20,000 per annum, relocation assistance and housing, additional leave, and access to training and education.

“Doubling the incentive to $20,000 for our hardest to fill positions will encourage more workers to take up opportunities in remote communities with critical staff vacancies,” Mr Minns said.

Packages are scaled and increase in value in more remote locations.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said that no matter where people live in NSW they should have access to vital services.

“I’m confident that by doubling the incentives on offer, we can attract more health staff to our regions,” Mr Park said.

Member for Barwon Roy Butler recently met with Health Minister Ryan Park to discuss the ongoing issue of staffing at hospitals in remote communities and said a new incentive package might go some way to tackling the problem. […]

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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