- Amendments finalised to regulations to streamline procurement processes, to better support regional local governments to contract and retain GPs
- Tender exemptions will provide greater flexibility in varying and extending contracts for regional medical services
- Part of the McGowan Government's ongoing commitment to regional healthcare
Amendments have been completed to Western Australian laws regulating recruitment of general practitioners (GPs) by local governments which will reduce red tape and ease the burden on many regional local governments.
Due to the worldwide challenges in attracting and retaining medical professionals in rural and remote areas, many Western Australian local governments take on a key role contracting GPs by providing incentives such as housing and other living subsidies.
Despite primary care predominantly being a Federal Government responsibility, the State Government is committed to doing everything it can to support our healthcare workforce. This includes offering generous incentives for public health workers to live and work in the regions and expanding our skilled migration list for priority jobs to include 46 medical and health-related occupations for the 2022-23 program year.
Amendments to procurement requirements under the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996 will remove additional barriers to local governments retaining medical services.
Under the previous Regulations, a local government was required to invite public tenders for contracts that are, or are expected to be, worth more than $250,000.
Amendments to the Regulations will now make retention of GPs easier, by providing for tender exemption for varying and extending contracts, for regional medical services.
Under the amendments, local governments will still undertake an open tender process, in accordance with the current Regulations, when first engaging a GP or procuring medical services. The amendments will also make it easier for an incoming GP to take over another GP's contract.
The reforms were developed through a working group, involving the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the WA Local Government Association, and individual local governments from across regional WA.
The new regulations will be in effect from Saturday, 20 May, 2023.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister John Carey:
"Our Government continues to work with the local government sector to cut red tape to benefit residents and ratepayers across local governments.
"Earlier this year, I heard firsthand from local governments about the difficulty in retaining GPs due to the cumbersome retender process, and difficulties in novation of GP contracts.
"These amendments to the Regulations will streamline the contracting process, reducing an unnecessary burden on the local governments and making it easier for them to retain crucial medical services for their communities.
"I want to acknowledge a number of stakeholders including relevant local governments and WALGA for their input through the working group. In particular, the information and feedback provided by individual councils has been critical to identifying how best we could progress effective reforms."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"The McGowan Government is committed to doing everything we can to support regional local governments to attract and retain healthcare workers.
"Primary Care, including GPs, is predominantly the remit of the Federal Government, but we want to assist where possible, which is why we are making this important regulatory change.
"We want to ensure all Western Australians have access to top quality healthcare, no matter where they live, which is why we are making record investments into health and mental health."
Local Government Minister's office - 6552 5300
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900