(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

In August the Senate decided to launch an inquiry into GPs in regional, rural and remote areas -- yet another in a series of inquiries over the decades into the vexing issue of how to get more GPs working in small bush communities.

It is due to report by the end of March -- which may or may not mean it is finished before the election -- and has received more than 200 submissions.

For a government with an election to save, however, that timetable is useless. Rather than try to work out what actually might work, the Nationals' Minister for Regional Health David Gillespie announced last week -- though good luck finding the details anywhere -- that the government would "eliminate the HELP debt of doctors and nurse practitioners who work in general practice in a rural, remote, or very remote location for a specified period".