A new collaborative primary health care model will be trialed across western NSW to help improve health service delivery and workforce shortages in rural areas.
The investment was made as part of the regional health package announced in the Federal Budget on Tuesday.
Regional Health Minister and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the coalition government was investing in a first-of-a-kind primary care model as part of a broader effort to improve health outcomes for rural Australians.
"What we're understanding is that every community, every district, has slightly different issues, so a cookie-cutter approach to health care delivery from the federal government isn't appropriate," he said.
Mr Coulton said the '4Ts' project which will be implemented and trailed in Trangie, Tullamore, Tottenham and Trundle to test the suitability and sustainability of a shared health workforce across the region.
Part of this will include shared GP services and telehealth will ensure resources are better harnessed and available across the region.
The model has been under development for some time with the Western NSW Collaboration, which comprises of the Western NSW Primary Health Network, Western NSW Local Health District, Far Western NSW Local Health District and NSW Rural Doctors Network.
This collaborative approach will not only ensure communities have a standard of health care they deserve, but help towns retain their health care professionals.
"What we'll see is a more permanent presence in those communities," Mr Coulton said.
"This team approach will mean that there's a network of doctors, nurses and allied health workers supporting each other."
Mr Coulton said this model would also see the Local Health District invest money into permanent employment, rather than on locum staff.
"[The LHD] spend an exorbitant amount of money on locums, and to me that's a perverse system where someone gets paid much more money to go part-time, than someone who commits full time.
"A lot of those resources the health district have been putting into locums can go into creating a work environment that's conducive to more permanent employment."
General manager representing the Western NSW Local Health District Meegan Connors welcomed the project and said it would not only benefit employment, but keep people closer to home.
"The project itself will see us to redesign health services, roles and positions that exist so that we have a sustainable workforce,but also building community capacity so that we can keep people closer to home."
Further sites to be funded by the Australian government will be announced in the future.