Federal Government-funded health program reaches significant milestone

The Department of Health’s Rural Locum Assistance Programme (Rural LAP) celebrated its 5000th rural placement at an event held in Canberra on Thursday, 29 September 2017.

Since 2011, Rural LAP and its predecessor, the Nursing and Allied Health Rural Locum Scheme (NAHRLS), has helped thousands of rural and remote health professionals take much needed leave to recuperate and come back to work revitalised and ready to provide quality health services to their communities. Rural LAP provides a cost-effective service to practices by providing health professionals to rural and remote practices for short periods of time with no extra costs to those practices.  Rural LAP is managed by health care solutions provider, Aspen Medical.

Elizabeth Murray, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Rural Access Branch within the Department of Health, presented the Rural LAP 5000th Locum Award to Chris Leonard, a registered nurse, who recently took up a placement in at Moruya Hospital in New South Wales.

Chris Leonard embodies all that is best about Rural LAP. Chris has completed 20 placements with Rural LAP and was on his 21st placement at Moruya Hospital.

“I believe all Australians deserve equally high quality health care regardless if they live in the city or out bush. Rural LAP has enabled me to assist my peers working in rural Australia by providing them the opportunity to go on an essential break for holidays and education,” said Chris.

Leanne Ovington, Director of Nursing and Midwifery for Moruya and Batemans Bay Hospitals said, “We regularly use Rural LAP nurses in Moruya Hospital and we have appreciated the continuity of service that the program has provided by sending us nurses who are familiar with our wards. The Rural LAP service has allowed our staff to take much needed annual leave and avoid any fatigue and stress associated with not being able to have a break."

Rural LAP was previously known as the NAHRLS and in 2016 the program expanded to incorporate obstetrics, anaesthetics and GP education assistance.