Rural health funding receives a boost in Australia

By staff writers

May 14, 2021 -- The Australian 2021-2022 federal budget includes a boost for rural general practitioners, according to a report posted on 12 May by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).

ABC News reported the budget includes 9 million Australian dollars (5.7 million euros) for allied health professionals to train in rural and remote areas and 20 million Australian dollars (12.8 million euros) to replace older diagnostic imaging equipment. The funding is expected to benefit 80 regional, rural, and remote practices.

"I wonder how and where the spending on equipment will go. All too often, MRI licenses (which allow the government to be billed for the scans) are given for political reasons (marginal electorates) and not actual need," a source told "There might be more to discover about the imaging equipment replacement."

Almost all, if not all, radiology practices in regional and rural areas are private practices located in public hospitals where the equipment is owned by the practice, the source continued. In general in Australia, only larger teaching hospitals in capital cities employ radiologists directly; in regional cities and towns, radiologists are usually employed by a private practice -- increasingly corporate rather than radiologist-owned -- and often the company owns the equipment too.

In total, the government announced more than 17 billion Australian dollars (10.9 billion euros) in new funding for aged care and 2.3 billion Australian dollars (1.5 billion euros) of funding for mental health care and suicide prevention, ABC reported.

Copyright © 2021

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