Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien has welcomed a new two-year education program that will create incentives for allied health professionals to work in regional areas like Wide Bay and better equip them with the skills needed for rural practice.
Mr O'Brien said the Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme would help recruit and retain medical professionals in regional areas, and provide professional development opportunities for allied health professionals.
"Allied health professionals play a major role in preventing, diagnosing, and treating illness and injury and in regional areas, they need a wide-ranging skillset to deal with the diverse range of patients that walk through the door," Mr O'Brien said.
"A physiotherapist in a city clinic might specialise in sport or pregnancy, but a physio in a regional area needs to be able to assist all types of patients, including children and the aged.
"This program will help attract these university-trained specialists, and bolster the medical community as they work closely with other professionals, doctors and nurses in regional areas."
The program will teach vital skills including how to manage complex patients and where to find more support, how to consult via telehealth and how they can access additional services for patients who may need it.
The $3.2 million Liberal and National Government investment will enable 20 level one scholarships valued at $10,000 and 20 level two scholarships valued at $28,000 to be offered initially at James Cook University, with more universities expected to join.
Funding is also available to help employers cover back-filling positions and provide travel and accommodation for students to attend training.