30 Apr 2013

Health scheme attracts more than expected

10:22 pm on 30 April 2013

More doctors, nurses and midwives than expected have joined the Government's Voluntary Bonding Scheme for health workers.

A review of the scheme was released on Tuesday.

The scheme was introduced in 2008 and offers financial incentives to graduates who work in a community or health speciality that is short-staffed.

It aims to reduce vacancies and a heavy reliance on casual staff and overseas trained professionals and has cost $6 million to date.

The review says 2300 graduates have joined, including 1800 nurses, 260 doctors and 218 midwives. However, 12% of the first intake in 2009 have opted out.

The report says it is too early to assess the effect of the scheme on workforce shortages.

Health Minister Tony Ryall is not worried about the level of participants opting out, saying it is designed to be flexible for young people.