The Federally funded Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP), which is managed by Aspen Medical, has placed its 10,000th health professional since the program began in 2011. Yorke Peninsula-based Registered Nurse Carmel Short will undertake the landmark placement at Roxby Downs Health Service in South Australia.
Rural LAP is an amalgamation of the Nursing and Allied Health Rural Locum Scheme (NAHRLS), Rural Obstetric and Anaesthetic Locum Scheme (ROALS), and Rural Locum Education Assistance Program (Rural LEAP). As a component of the Australian Government’s rural workforce capacity agenda, the program’s primary focus is on supporting aged care workers, obstetricians, anaesthetists, nurses, and allied health professionals in rural and remote regions. The program offers locum coverage for continuing professional development (CPD) and recreation leave. In 2022, the program was extended to aged care services in rural and remote locations impacted by sudden departures, annual leave, and training.
Rural LAP National Manager Jessica Andrews said, “We extend our gratitude to all the health professionals and clinics who have supported this program since 2011. Working in remote and rural locations across our beautiful country has its clear advantages.
“However, without dedicated locums like Carmel, her peers cannot get the downtime and training they need to provide the best service possible to their patients.”
Roxby Downs Health Service is part of the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network and is situated approximately 250kms north of Port Augusta. The facility has an accident and emergency service and general medical services. Over the past decade, the health professionals at the facility have been supported by 69 Rural LAP placements.
Janine Connell, Director of Nursing at Roxby Downs Health Service said, “We have great difficulty attracting suitably qualified staff to the remote setting, so following on from that, being able to release our staff for leave and particularly professional development leave is particularly challenging.
Rural LAP has made this so much easier for us. The process of booking staff for locum placements is seamless and reliable and the quality of staff coming here from Rural LAP is fantastic.”
Rural LAP is funded until 30 June 2024. For more information on the program, click www.rurallap.com.au or call 1800 RURAL LAP (78725 527).