RURAL doctors are demanding better use of taxpayer money, rather than billions more spent on healthcare.
In its pre-budget submission to the Federal Government, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia said funding needed to be directed to proven, cost-effective rural health initiatives.
"In tight fiscal times, it is not really about putting a lot more money into rural health, but achieving more with the money you've got," RDAA president Sheilagh Cronin said.
The RDAA called on the Government to support several key initiatives in the May budget, including a national approach to training a medical workforce to meet the specific needs of rural and remote communities.
It has also demanded grants and financial incentives for rural practices, which supports the areas of greatest need and recognise the extra responsibility and skills essential to regional GP services, and the increased costs this involves.
"Rural practices are under significant pressure. They need targeted support to enable them to continue to provide affordable healthcare, to maintain and improve their facilities and to train the next generation of rural doctors," Dr Cronin said.
"More doctors will be attracted to rural practice if they are offered a professionally supportive environment ... and receive improved financial incentives."