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  • Government-funded program offers support for leave when casual staff are in short supply

    Author: HealthTimes

Leave requests and unexpected absences in health facilities are often difficult to cover when the casual pool of staff are in short supply. This scenario is all too real for rural and remote health services around Australia and the weight is shouldered by the remaining nurses and midwives who take on more of the workload to offset reduced staff numbers.

Supervising temporary replacements can also be a burden on managers as they are required to shift their attention from primary duties to ensure that the position is being covered adequately. Quality locum nurses and midwives almost guarantees a well-run health facility and minimal clinical incidents.

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The word ‘quality’ was a common survey response from rural and remote health services around Australia. Practice Manager, Mark Leddy from Camperdown Clinic in Victoria recently stated that ‘the quality of the locum registered nurse makes it easier for me to focus on my primary role rather than hovering over them”.

Clinic Nurse Manager, Bradley Pickering, appreciated the quality of the clinician and their ability to cover leave effectively. “Working as a manager in an MM5 area makes staffing difficult at the best of times. However, with access to this Government-funded program, covering leave is made considerably easier” Mr Pickering said.

Australian Government-funded Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP) has been assisting rural and remote health services to cover leave for over seven years. A recent survey revealed that rural and remote health services value highly skilled, quality clinicians that can hit the ground running as soon as they arrive. Deputy Facility Manager from Holbrook Health Service in New South Wales, Emma Oswald, stated “we value the experience these locums bring and they are always in a position to be able to jump into work straight away and assist which is what we need”.


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About the program
Rural LAP is a component of the Australian Government’s rural workforce capacity agenda managed by healthcare solutions provider, Aspen Medical. The program aims to provide targeted rural and remote support services to general practitioners (obstetricians and anaesthetists), specialists (obstetricians and anaesthetists), nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia. All Aboriginal medical services throughout Australia are eligible to receive locum support.

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