The Tasmanian Government has inaugurated a Rural Medical Workforce Centre at the Mersey Community Hospital, in collaboration with the University of Tasmania.

The centre is said to be part of a broader initiative to enhance rural and regional healthcare services.

It aims to support the training and hiring, as well as retention, of healthcare professionals and doctors in the north-west region.

The establishment of this centre is seen as a crucial step in building a workforce pipeline for rural and regional healthcare.

By offering training opportunities in various medical specialities, including emergency medicine, rural general practices, and obstetrics, the centre will encourage doctors to work in rural areas in the future.

It will also play a role in advancing Tasmania’s Rural Generalist Training Pathway and a Single Employer Model pilot for GP recruitment.

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In addition, the facility will contribute to the training of other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and allied health staff.

The government in Tasmania investedA$4.3m ($2.72m) in this initiative, including A$1m ($0.63m) for capital works and upgrades at the centre.

Upgrades encompass a training space, video conferencing facilities, and additional workstations for students.

The project was completed in four months by Fairbrother Construction.

Tasmania Minister for Health Guy Barnett said: “We know that doctors and health professionals who have a positive training experience in rural regions are more likely to live and work in rural communities in the future.

“The Rural Medical Workforce Centre will continue to support our long-term workforce strategy by further enhancing the training opportunities that we can offer to medical graduates, trainee doctors, and health professionals.

“Supporting the recruitment of more rural doctors and health professionals is essential to ensuring all Tasmanians can access the health care system they deserve.”