Wednesday, July 24, 2024

HECS help to aid WA health workforce


Newly qualified nurses and midwives who go to work at priority remote and regional public hospitals will be eligible for up to $12,000 over three years to pay off their HECS-HELP debt.

Premier Mark McGowan says the 2023-24 State Budget will include $4.2 million for the HECS-HELP initiative to incentivise newly qualified nurses and midwives to work in regional Western Australia, with priority given to hard-to-staff areas.

The new initiative will be available for up to 350 recently qualified nurses and midwives who commence work in the regions in 2023-24.

“We know HECS-HELP debts can be a significant burden for people at the start of their careers and in many cases take years to pay off,” the Premier said.

“These new HECS-HELP grants will give nurses and midwives a significant head-start at the beginning of their careers, while boosting the workforces of remote and regional hospitals where it is most needed.

“This Budget includes a range of new initiatives designed to ensure WA is well positioned in building a skilled workforce for the future, and nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers are one of our top priorities.”

The HECS-HELP fee grants are among $28.5 million in new initiatives funded in the upcoming State Budget to bolster WA’s valued healthcare workforce.

The State Budget will provide $3.6 million for wrap-around support, such as mentoring, for 1200 newly qualified nurses and midwives.

A further $15 million in 2023-24 has been allocated for incentives to attract and retain health and mental health staff to regional WA.

The Government will also invest $1 million in 2023-24 to extend the Belong domestic and international advertising and recruitment campaign to continue to recruit healthcare workers for the WA health system.

In addition, ten Aboriginal Mental Health Workers will be recruited as part of a $5.8 million boost to infant, child and adolescent (ICA) services across the State. These additional workers – a recommendation of the ICA Taskforce – will help with the provision of culturally secure and appropriate services to Western Australians requiring mental health services.

“Our healthcare workforce is the backbone of our public health system and we are investing in a range of measures to continue to bolster its numbers,” said Health Minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson.

“Since 2020, our healthcare workforce has increased by 22%, which is a huge achievement amid global workforce pressures, but we cannot stop there.

“These new initiatives will help encourage new nurses and midwives to take up the exciting challenge of working in some of the most in-demand locations across our vast State.”

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