RACGP welcomes funding boost to fast-track rural generalism

Doug Hendrie

27/03/2019 4:20:35 PM

The Federal Government has announced $62 million in funding to accelerate the long-sought pathway.

Rural road
Chair of RACGP Rural Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda has described the new funding as ‘a step forward for rural GPs and their patients’.

Chair of RACGP Rural Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda has commended the Federal Government for committing to rural general practice.
‘This is a step forward for rural GPs and their patients,’ he said.
‘A National Rural Generalist Pathway for trainee doctors will play a key role in ensuring Australians living in rural and regional communities have access to a highly trained GP who understands their individual needs and circumstances.
‘If these doctors have the skills and support they need to practice in rural Australia, they will be more likely to remain there caring for their patients for many years. This would make a significant difference to the current shortage of doctors in rural areas.
‘Many regional and rural areas of Australia are in desperate need of GPs.
‘The specific training for rural generalist GPs will ensure that GPs and registrars have the right skills to practice in rural settings and can address the shifting needs of rural and remote communities, such as the ever-evolving needs of mental health and palliative care.’
The RACGP will launch its own component of the national plan, the Rural Generalist Fellowship, from next year.

‘A Rural Generalist Fellowship with the RACGP would encourage GPs to practice in the areas of Australia that have been struggling to attract and retain appropriately trained GPs,’ Associate Professor Shenouda said.

Federal Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie announced the funding at the 15th National Rural Health Conference in Hobart.
‘Australia has the medical workforce, the issue is how that workforce is distributed,’ she said.
‘The Government is investing in pathways to get Australian doctors into those difficult-to-serve parts of the country.
‘Rural generalists play a key role providing rural and remote Australians [with] access [to] health services by providing general practice, emergency care and other specialist services in hospitals and in the community.
‘More rural generalists in rural and remote areas means enhanced access to services and better health outcomes for these communities.’
Labor Shadow Health Minister Catherine King has agreed to match the funding.
Since 2017, the RACGP has worked with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), as well as National Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley to develop and implement the National Rural Generalist Pathway.
Professor Worley previously formed a taskforce on rural generalism, which handed down 19 recommendations in December, outlining a possible structure for the pathway and calling for a rural loading for all clinical services provided by rural generalist GPs.
The taskforce report found that while there was an increasing number of medical graduates from Australian medical schools, this had not solved the rural workforce issue.
‘[T]his alone has not resulted in sufficient access to the medical services required for rural and remote communities. In fact, there is a persistent and pernicious workforce maldistribution,’ the report states.
ACCRM President Dr Ewen McPhee has also welcomed the new investment.
‘This is recognition of the importance of building a national workforce of rural generalist doctors who have the unique skills required to meet the needs of the rural and remote communities in which our doctors live and work,’ he said.

funding National Rural Generalist Pathway rural generalist rural health

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David Rivett   28/03/2019 12:40:23 PM

without guaranteed positions to ensure use of enhanced skills and financial incentives to go bush this will fail
A comprehensive package is needed, piecemeal change will not work