Apr 03, 2023

NSW Government commits $76 million to healthcare scholarships

NSW Government commits $76 million to healthcare scholarships

The newly elected New South Wales Labor Government has confirmed it will introduce 2000 yearly scholarships for healthcare students from 2024, shaving $12,000 off degree costs to retain graduates.

Labor, which had been in opposition since 2011, will invest more than $76 million into healthcare.

Students participating in any healthcare degree will be eligible for a subsidy on their expenses if they commit to working in the NSW public health system for at least five years

Applications are also likely to prioritise students and graduates in regional areas. 

“The people who look after us need more support. There is widespread burnout, fatigue and under-resourcing in our hospitals,” NSW Premier, Chris Minns, said.

“I’ve heard stories of dozens of experienced emergency department nurses who had quit, taking with them irreplaceable practical knowledge and experience.

“I’ve spoken to paramedics and nurses about what it is really like in our emergency wards – every day, every night and on every shift – they’re not just tired, they’re exhausted.

“I want to boost recruitment of the next generation of paramedics, nurses and doctors for our public health system, that will take pressure off and ensure patients get the care they need.”

Students will have to wait for their scholarships, however, as the initiative won’t be implemented until January 1, 2024.

There will also be different benefits for current and future students who commit to the NSW public health system. Current students will only be able to access a one-off payment of $8,000 when they graduate, but students and graduates from 2024 will be able to access three $4,000 payments.

“This package will help train the paramedics, nurses, doctors, and allied health professionals we need to begin the work to repair our hospital system,” explained Ryan Park, NSW Minister for Health.

“The NSW health system cannot cope with another four years of Band-Aid solutions.

According to the Australian Associated Press, there will also be yearly quotas, with scholarships available for up to 850 nurses, 400 doctors and 150 midwives.

The NSW Government’s initiative is similar to a Federal Government initiative that removes Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts for doctors and nurses who relocate to regional Australia, while the Victorian Government announced 10,000 scholarships for nursing and midwifery undergraduates last August. 

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  1. NSW Health implemented a policy to force its staff to be vaccinated against COVID 19 or face termination.
    Many staff that have years of experience still face termination because of an outdated policy.
    Staff are burnt out because of people exiting the workforce.
    Unvaxxed Staff were and still are prohibited from the workplace, undervalued and were not offered non-clinical roles.
    Now we have an exodus of highly trained skilled staff, and some sitting home on the couch waiting for internal policies to change. Skill mix and numbers are important on a ward.
    An influx of new graduates with not enough mentors and fatigued staff will not fix the problem.
    Staff need to be valued, compensated, reinstated their position and encouraged to remain in public health to benefit all.

  2. This is a very good initiative of Government . Government should give a thought to start some internship trainings for professional migrant medical professional as well said in this article these people come with irreplaceable experience and knowledge and can be used in right direction with little support and guidance.

  3. It is incredible that the national shortage of registered nurses across all industries has been known about for over two decades and yet the States and the Commonwealths best answer is this. When I left a tertiary referral hospital in 2005 there were only around 45 Enrolled Nurses employed and no assistants in nursing. Hospitals are now full of students. The Commonwealth decides to enforce registered nurse minutes per resident per day in aged care yet the acute care sector can do whatever it wants. The Unions want nurse to resident ratios in hospitals, fair enough. But can anyone tell me how this strategy above actually addresses the fundamental reasons why nurses in significant number have left the industry and why far less people consider nursing as a career. No one individually or collectively appears to want to address this underlying fundamental issue. As a 60 plus year old nurse no wonder most of my colleagues and peers have retired early.

  4. I don’t see this as a solution to the problem

    1. The award for both doctors and nurses in significantly lower than their interstate counterparts. For example a registrar doctor with>6 years of training is paid slightly less than what a doctor in their 3rd year of training receives in Victoria. This trend continues even after they become specialists where the difference as a first year consultant is 60k. This understandably results in an exodus of medical officers interstate to complete their training or into the private system long term.

    2. If staff are required to work in the public system in NSW for 5 years, will this affect their eligibility to transition to other career paths such as general practice or nursing homes (which are other areas of need).

    3. If staff are quitting the public sector due to burn out within a few years of graduation- will recipients of this scholarship in the future be unable to leave the public workforce within 5 years of graduation without penalty if they wish to change career paths/they too become too burnt out and feel unable to continue. I’m not sure about the ethics of tying a young high school graduate down in the future with promise of a scholarship now- I’m not sure they have the maturity or insight to understand the repercussions of their decisions

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