RACGP applauds investment in Rural Coordination Units

Morgan Liotta

23/07/2020 1:46:16 PM

A $27 million Government injection to boost the Rural Generalist Pathway marks an important step to support rural and remote GPs in training.

Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda
RACGP Rural Chair Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said the Rural Generalist Pathway will help to attract more junior doctors to work and live in the communities that most need them.

The funding comes under the Federal Government’s $550 million package to improve access to rural general practice training as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.
Following consultation with the RACGP, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), and other rural and general practice training organisations, the Rural Coordination Units were developed as an essential component of the National Rural Generalist Pathway.
The pathway is designed to address rural medical workforce shortages and recruit and support junior doctors in rural and remote communities.
Rural Coordination Units will be set up across each state and territory and work closely with the health sector to develop strong links between hospital and primary care networks for the pathway.
Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda, RACGP Vice President and Chair of RACGP Rural, said the investment is an important step towards rolling out the National Rural Generalist Pathway, with which the RACGP has been closely involved.
‘This is setting the foundations to build a skilled GP workforce for rural and remote communities. It will help get more GPs out to the bush and care for patients who need them,’ he said.
RACGP Rural has long advocated for support for GPs training in rural and remote areas and is developing the Rural Generalist Fellowship to support and allow flexibility for junior doctors to enter and exit training at different stages of their careers.
The new Fellowship will encourage GPs to work in areas of Australia that have strived to attract and retain appropriately trained GPs.
‘Being based in a rural or remote area is an incredibly rewarding experience,’ Associate Professor Shenouda said.
‘I often tell medical students that if you train in a rural area you will get to know the patients you treat and find the local community very welcoming.
‘If we highlight the positives of being a GP in a rural area, we can help attract more GPs in training to work and live in the communities that need them.’
Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton said it is vital to support doctors on the Rural Generalist Pathway to establish ‘the best rural workforce we can’ and provide flexible training opportunities.
‘Rural Coordination Units will assist rural generalist trainees navigate multiple clinical and training components for the first six years of their postgraduate training,’ he said.
‘This dedicated support will enable aspiring rural generalists – doctors who provide both general practice and emergency medicine in vital specialities like anaesthetics and obstetrics – to seamlessly transition between the various training requirements for rural generalism.’
Associate Professor Shenouda said the RACGP would continue to work closely with the Government to develop the Rural Generalist Pathway to help attract more GPs to train, work and live in rural and remote communities and ensure these communities have access to quality healthcare.
‘The RACGP has more than 41,000 members and more than 9500 of them live and work in rural and remote areas. We are committed to supporting GPs outside of major cities and building the rural GP workforce,’ he said.
‘Every community across Australia deserves access to highly skilled and trained GPs.’
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