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Project provides pull to Port Lincoln for aged care professionals

Older disabled woman trying to stand up with help of caregiver

The Australian Government is providing $3.7 million to the University of South Australia (UniSA) to create a training site in Port Lincoln that will encourage current and future nursing and allied health students to pursue a career in aged care once qualified.

The Federal Coalition Government is providing $3.7 million to the University of South Australia (UniSA) to create a training site in Port Lincoln that will encourage current and future nursing and allied health students to pursue a career in aged care once qualified.

Making the significant announcement today at the Matthew Flinders Home, where the training and simulation site will be built, Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey said this was a win-win for local health students and the increasing elderly population in the area.

Mr Ramsey said the new centre will include state of the art equipment, including a simulated resident’s room with geriatric mannequin, clinical skills training laboratory, video/telehealth conferencing facilities, and areas for student mentoring, tutorials, and office space.

“Each year, the demonstration project will give dozens of students in nursing and other health professions the opportunity to study under supervision in residential and community aged care in Port Lincoln,” Mr Ramsey said.

“As well as nursing, the project will support students in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry, pharmacy and nutrition; with the program likely to expand to include dietetics, exercise physiology and social work students in the future.”

Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, who will join Mr Ramsey tomorrow for a rural health visit to Wallaroo, said the centre will give students the experience and training to build their knowledge, expertise, and skills relevant to rural aged care practice, which makes them more likely to pursue a career in regional, rural, or remote aged care at the end of their studies.

“The project will initially start with 52 weeks of student placements in 2022, building to 288 weeks and 48 students in 2024 and beyond, which is a huge staff boost to local aged care,” Dr Gillespie said.

“In return, it will give people receiving aged care access to health services which haven’t been available locally, and better access to existing services.”

Mr Ramsey said the project’s benefits would extend across the Port Lincoln community.

“Port Lincoln is the service centre for the Lower Eyre Peninsula and also a retirement destination, with a growing population of elderly people,” Mr Ramsey said.

“This project will give students from the local area and other places the opportunity to train on the job and link them to future local employment opportunities.

“At the same time, it will help local aged care provider, Matthew Flinders Home, to continue to deliver high quality care and meet the health care needs of its residents.”

UniSA will receive nearly $3.7 million from the Liberal and Nationals Government to establish the site at Matthew Flinders Home. It is part of the Federal Government’s $18.4 million investment to establish up to seven health training demonstration sites in rural and remote aged care services, as part of the broader Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.

In October 2020, the Australian Government announced a $48.3 million investment to increase rural health training opportunities to deliver health, aged care, and disability services in regional, rural, and remote communities under the RHMT program. The program currently provides over $200 million in funding to 21 universities across Australia to improve the recruitment and retention of medical, nursing, dental and allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

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