Medical graduates who choose to go into general practice are being offered a $40,000 incentive in a bid to reverse the decline in those choosing to become GPs.
Up to 800 grants are up for grabs with 400 on offer this year and the remaining 400 in 2025, for those who begin studying to become a GP in Victoria.
Applicants will be assessed for eligibility, with general practice colleges already seeing an uptick in enrolments for GP training in 2024.
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A recent survey found only 13 per cent final-year medical students selected general practice as their first choice for careers.
Victoria’s Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas is hoping the financial incentive will encourage medical students to pursue careers as GPs over other specialties offering better pay.
Only 13 per cent final-year medical students want to go into general practice. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP
“So many Victorians have built trusted relationships with their local GP over many years, but we know too many people can’t get in to see a GP when they need one,” she said.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, which will administer a majority of the grants, welcomed the incentive package.
“A healthy GP workforce is essential for a healthy Victoria – GPs keep people out of hospital,” the body’s chair Anita Munoz said.
However, the opposition criticised the government for being too slow to address the issue of waning GP numbers.
“They’ve waited so long until we’re in crisis before they act and make a change,” opposition spokesman Brad Battin said.
“We saw a shortage in nurses, now we’re seeing a shortage in GPs across the state and it’s taken until we effectively have no GPs in many regional areas and struggling to get them through the growth corridors that the government eventually reacts.”
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