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CRANAplus, a professional body representing Australia’s remote and isolated health workforce, has been handed a $13.7 million grant from the Federal Government that will allow it to boost its training, support and professional services.

The funding injection will help more than 1,500 health professionals working in remote Australia tackle the unique challenges of the job and deliver safe, high quality primary healthcare.

Announced on Wednesday by Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, the grant will be spread over three years and also enable CRANAplus to carry on its work in addressing barriers to recruiting and retaining health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

CRANAplus Chief Executive Officer Christopher Cliffe said the grant would allow the organisation to continue supporting health professionals such as Remote Area Nurses to deliver care to people living in remote parts of the country.

People living in remote parts of the country have less access to the sorts of health services most Australians take for granted, he added.

“If you live, work or are travelling in remote Australia and become acutely unwell or have an accident, you are unlikely to have a local hospital or private general practitioner within cooee,” Mr Cliffe said.

“The first health professional you’ll see is probably going to be a Remote Area Nurse who will provide your treatment or stabilise you for evacuation to the nearest hospital.”

Senator McKenzie said the grant ensures Australians living in geographically isolated regions can access “high-quality” professional healthcare services.

“Remote communities often do not have local hospitals or general practitioners. Healthcare services are typically provided by Remote Area Nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, supported by visiting medical and allied health professionals,” she said.

“Member-based training programs like CRANAplus are vital to attracting, maintaining and enabling the careers of remote health workers.”

The $13.7 million grant reflects work undertaken by the federal government as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy, a policy aiming to build a sustainable, high-quality health workforce across regional Australia.

The Stronger Rural Health Strategy will bring 3000 additional nurses in rural general practice, 3000 additional specialist GPs for rural Australia, and hundreds of additional allied health professionals over the next decade.