NSW government to provide study subsidy worth up to $12,000 for nurses and rural doctors

Thousands of healthcare students are eligible for a $12,000 scholarship if they commit to working in the state's public health system

Young doctors in the NSW regions will be among thousands of healthcare students eligible for a $12,000 scholarship if they commit to working in the state’s public health system for five years.

With 2000 scholarships a year, the government initiative is aimed at slowing the number of young graduates dropping out of the NSW healthcare workforce.

The program will support up to 850 nurses, 400 doctors with a focus on regional and rural interns, 150 midwives and a host of other workers including paramedics and physiotherapists, the NSW government announced on Sunday.

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Those who have already commenced their studies will also be recognised under a transitionary arrangement. Some 2000 students will be eligible for a one-off payment of $8000 upon their graduation.

“I’ve spoken to paramedics and nurses about what it is really like in our emergency wards – every day, every night and on every shift – they’re not just tired, they’re exhausted and they’re leaving,” Premier Chris Minns said in a statement.

“I’m determined to turn that around.”

The scholarships begin in 2024. 

The entire scheme is budgeted to cost $97 million over three years, including $40.4m when it’s at full capacity in 2026.

“This … demonstrates this government’s commitment to ensuring we attract new staff and support and retain the talent we already have in the NSW public health system,”

Health Minister Ryan Park said.

The bare bones of the Labor scheme were announced before the March state election and it was assessed by the independent parliamentary budget office.

Its research indicated recipients may be exempt from paying tax on scholarships if they met certain criteria, and subject to salary packaging.

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The office noted the policy didn’t specify whether health graduates who broke their work commitment would be required to pay back all or a portion of their scholarship funds.