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Update on efforts to recognise rural generalist as a specialty


Morgan Liotta


21/07/2021 4:18:23 PM

A recent submission has moved the RACGP’s joint application one step closer to potentially being accepted.

A GP consulting with a patient.
The RACGP is committed to collaborating with key stakeholders for recognition of rural generalist medicine as a specialist field.

Earlier this month, the RACGP and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) submitted further information to support their joint application to recognise rural generalist medicine as a specialist field within general practice.

The information, requested by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) in August 2020, will form stage 2 of the application, which has been in development since September 2019. 

According to the RACGP, the move to have rural generalist medicine recognised as a protected title and specialised field will ‘support the development and enhance the attractiveness to trainees of a specific training pathway for this career’, as well as ‘develop a workforce that can provide extended services for the healthcare needs of rural and remote communities’.
 
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements told newsGP the college is ‘very pleased’ to be working with ACRRM and the new National Rural Health Commissioner Associate Professor Ruth Stewart to progress with the recognition.
 
‘Rural generalists form an important part of the rural workforce solution and this recognition supports the advancement of the national rural generalist pathway,’ he said.
 
‘There is still considerable work to be done, but we have been pleased by the support from stakeholders in progressing this goal.
 
‘Importantly, the RACGP will be progressing our support offerings to rural GPs interested in receiving rural generalist recognition for their existing work in the rural and remote communities.’
 
In January 2021, a Rural Generalist Recognition Taskforce (the Taskforce) meeting with AMC representatives provided an opportunity for the Taskforce to seek clarity regarding the decision process, timeframes and expectations to progress to Stage 2 of the application.
 
The AMC advised the following key areas of action are required:
  • Undertake a further national consultation
  • Provide further evidence of the impact of the title of ‘rural generalist specialist’ on workforce outcomes
  • Provide more detailed analysis of alternative mechanisms to achieve workforce outcomes without the title of ‘rural generalist specialist’
Taking these recommendations on board, the Taskforce has undertaken national consultations, including a presentation of the application to the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges and a letter to all college presidents to invite further discussion.
 
Similar letters were sent to other key stakeholders, including rural and remote community groups, medical schools, state and territory health services and departments, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).
 
The RACGP has stated that recognition of the rural generalist medicine title will better enable rural communities, as well as states and territories to identify and understand the scope of practice for rural generalists.
 
Both colleges have also expressed their commitment to working together toward progressing the application and delivery of training in the specialist field of rural generalism.
 
Should the MBA support progress to Stage 2 of the application for rural generalist recognition, the outcome is estimated to take 12­−18 months.
 
Further information and progress updates on the Taskforce’s application are available on the RACGP website.
 
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