Patients in Parkes and Forbes will soon experience the benefits of improved facilities after several practices in the Riverina and Central West were successful in obtaining funding from the Federal Government.
Assistant Minister for Health David Gillespie and Federal Member for the Riverina Michael McCormack on Wednesday announced that Ochre Health Medical Centre in Parkes will receive a windfall of $80,000.
The Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre Aboriginal Corporation in Forbes has also been granted $90,000.
The practices are among 67 that were offered grants across the nation, with a total of $13.1 million allocated under the Government’s Rural General Practice Grants program.
“I’m really pleased four practices in the Riverina and Central West will collectively receive grant funding of more than half a million dollars,” Mr McCormack said.
“This grant will enable Ochre Health in Parkes to expand and improve their facilities, and also provide assistance to the Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre in Forbes to develop a holistic approach to Indigenous healthcare.
“Better facilities will allow more doctors, nurses and other health workers to get hands-on training in general practices in regional areas.
“They will be able to attend to patients and also, when they are fully qualified, are more likely to decide to stay in the region or another rural community.”
The money for Ochre Medical Centre will go towards refurbishing the premises.
Dr Gillespie said practices would match the amount of their grants to undertake their projects.
He said the projects could range from building new rooms to renovating existing rooms and buying computing technology or medical equipment.
“As well as medical graduates, they may be used for training overseas-trained doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers or other health professionals employed in the practice,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Other grants will be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.
“The Government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs.
“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”
Forest Hill Medical Centre near Wagga was another Riverina electorate recipient, receiving $300,000 for renovations to introduce student and registrar training.
Additionally, the Kooringal Medical Centre has also been recommended for funding and negotiations with the Department of Health are continuing.