Monday, June 24, 2024

$6.3m to fund medical locum agency for regional NSW

The NSW Government has announced it will establish an internal medical locum agency to address the growing cost of attracting locums to regional areas.

In 2022-23, agency commissions for locum doctors represented around $37 million, up from $20 million in 2020-21.

$6.3 million in the 2024-25 NSW Budget, will examine the feasibility of a NSW Health Locum Agency, including how it would work and how much money could be saved as a result.

“Locums and other contingent workforce are important features of our health system to enable it to remain agile, and to scale up and down as needed,” said Minister for Health, Ryan Park.

“But I’ve always said that I am determined to see more of our health spending flow directly to our clinicians, and I think that’s a very reasonable community expectation.

“The Government is focusing on strategies to address the growing cost of this service, and the proposed internal agency will help to lower external fees across the state. It will also allow medical locums to trust us to place them in our hospitals.

“Our rural and regional health staff have strong connections to the communities they live in. We acknowledge and greatly appreciate their commitment to delivering exceptional care to the people they serve.”

NSW Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey described the investment announcement as a “must-have” for the health of regional and remote communities.

“Building an in-house agency means we can drive down rising external fees and put more money back into the health workforce,” he said.

“This $6.3 million investment marks another step in the Minns Labor Government’s pledge to build a better health system for everyone in NSW.

“We can afford this policy. Because we cut the state’s debt, we have cut the state’s interest bill.  And we can use that money to make a difference to the health outcomes of people in regional and remote NSW.”

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