Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

In January 2022, a review of the Glen Innes health workforce revealed that all three local GP practices had closed their books to new patients – one GP practice had a 300 person wait list! Local health care had become victim to an ageing population, with two GPs scheduled to retire at the end of 2022 and only one in the area under 50 years of age. There were also vacancies in OT, physiotherapy, dentistry, RNs, speech therapy, psychology, and disability care, and many residents, as well as the Aboriginal Health Service, were relying on GPs from up to 60kms away.

Modelled on a Canadian-borne approach, Attract Connect Stay – Glen Innes (ACS-GI) is a grassroots initiative to better attract and support the recruitment and retention of qualified health professionals for the 9000 strong Glen Innes community. During the program’s 2022 pilot, the community demonstrated strong support and capacity to ensure momentum for the model, including building a capable Board and governance structure.

New-to-area Health Professionals meet at a monthly Social Dinner

ACS-GI holds an FRRR Fundraising Account, to support operational costs including wages of a Health Workforce Recruiter Connector (HWRC) and general activities. The HWRC role is key to embedding the initiative – this person ensures new-to-area health professionals and their families are supported so that they stay in the district. ACS-GI says this can range from helping them find suitable accommodation to helping their partners find work, daycare or schools for children, connecting them with sporting groups and more.

“The recruitment of Health Professionals is a complicated mission and requires a lot of research. It is a matter of trying anything to elicit the attention of those elusive people who may be just looking for a green-change, a new start for young families away from the city.”

In just under a year the HWRC has saved one GP surgery from closure, assisted 166 patients to move from waiting lists to receiving GP care locally, enabled 153 existing patients to continue receiving care in Glen Innes after their GP retired, and supported 21 new-to-area health professionals to connect and settle in Glen Innes.

Every dollar helps local residents have better access to local healthcare when they need it. If you can help, donate here. 

FRRR’s Fundraising Accounts enhance an organisation’s network and fundraising capabilities by offering tax deductibility for donors. FRRR manages the funds with a team of financial experts and offers valuable administrative support, ensuring proper allocation and supports good governance by providing financial statements to account partners for donations supporting their activities. Currently, FRRR hosts 51 fundraising accounts. If you’d like to know more about how this works, contact Jo Kemp at FRRR.