Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    New homes boost doctor numbers in Pilbara

    4/03/2008 12:00 AM

    Accommodation for medical staff in the Pilbara has been given a vital boost with five new homes being built in Port Hedland and 10 more planned for Newman.


    Health Minister Jim McGinty said the new homes in Port Hedland were worth $2.8million and would provide accommodation for five doctors and their families.


    “We know that it is difficult to recruit medical staff to many regional areas, especially with the scarcity of accommodation in boom regions such as the Pilbara,” Mr McGinty said.


    “These five new family homes will help attract and retain doctors to provide the best quality health service to people in the Pilbara.


    “Three of the homes are already occupied and the remaining two have been reserved for new staff who will be starting in the coming weeks.”


    The new air-conditioned homes include three four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes and two three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes.


    The Minister also announced that a tender had been awarded to build ten new units for staff at Newman Hospital.


    “The two three-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units will be used for permanent and locum health care staff and will help to alleviate the chronic housing shortage in Newman,” he said. 


    “Work is expected to start in the next eight weeks and the units should be completed in May 2009.”


    Central Kimberley-Pilbara MLA Tom Stephens said he was pleased to see that new accommodation for medical staff was being built.


    “In an environment like we have now in the Pilbara, where housing is hard to access, it is good to see vital service providers such as the Department of Health working hard to accommodate their staff,” Mr Stephens said.


    “These comfortable and modern homes will ensure that there is suitable accommodation for doctors to meet the growing health care needs of the region.”


    The construction of the Port Hedland homes was a joint initiative between the Department of Health, which provided $2.1million, and the Pilbara Development Commission, through a $750,000 grant.


    Pilbara Minister Jon Ford said the grant was part of the State Government’s four year, $20million Pilbara Fund.


    “The Pilbara Fund has been an outstanding success and has contributed to a range of social and economic developments across the region worth in excess of $100million,” Mr Ford said. 


    “The $750,000 grant to assist with the provision of quality housing for medical staff is a further example of how the fund has been instrumental in securing the long-term future of the region.”


    The WA Country Health Service has adopted a number of strategies to recruit staff to regional hospitals.


    A Medical Workforce Unit has been set up to source doctors with the required skills for working in country areas both nationally and internationally.


    Other initiatives include ‘fly in - fly out’ options, remuneration and annual leave incentives, professional development, salary packaging and subsidised accommodation.


    Minister's office - 9422 3000