Security and nurse retention have been identified as issues needing investment for Sunrise Health.
A fly-in fly-out recruitment scheme for nurses will be trialed.
More than half of the service's 26 permanent remote area nurses left their jobs during 2017-18.
The Federal Government today promised to provide more than $1.4 million for three projects to address safety concerns, boost the retention of nurses and provide more secure storage for health centre vehicles in Katherine and the surrounding region.
The projects have been identified by the Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to ensure prompt delivery of essential health services in the Katherine East region.
Based in Katherine, the service provides health service in a large region across a 300km radius.
In its most recent annual report, the service identified "an extremely worrying trend in which the availability of Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Remote Area Nurses is diminishing thus making it harder for us to recruit and retain staff working in our remote clinics".
"Turnover of Remote Area Nurses in the health centres remains higher than we would like. SHSAC had staff turnover in 16 of the 26 permanent nursing positions (2017-18) which is an improvement on the previous year," the report said.
The clinics include: Barunga, Manyallaluk (Eva Valley), Wugularr (Beswick), Bulman & Weemol (Central Arnhem Highway); Jilkminggan, Minyerri, Ngukurr and Urapunga (Roper Highway); Mataranka (Stuart Highway); and surrounding communities and outstations.
Senator Nigel Scullion said today's the funding will:
- provide training to address staff safety issues ($628,200);
- establish a new pilot program to improve nurse retention ($485,176); and
- provide secure garaging and storage for patient transport vehicles ($345,161).
Lingiari candidate Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said de-escalation and security training for staff and community members will equip them with the tools they need to address situations as they arise and help support continuity of care for patients.
"The pilot program will trial a new fly-in-fly-out recruitment model for the nursing workforce which has proved successful at the Puntupi Homelands Health Service (Kintore) where staff retention has increased significantly."
Senate candidate, Dr Samantha McMahon, said funding to establish secure garaging for patient transport vehicles at Sunrise's Urapunga clinic will ensure the vehicles are stored safely and locally so the vehicles are available in case of an emergency.
"It is important for medical equipment to be stored appropriately in remote regions because it can rapidly deteriorate in harsh environmental conditions which risks the ability of health workers to provide timely, quality health services," Dr McMahon said.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.