Stronger, more flexible rural training to rollout next year: RACGP

Doug Hendrie

26/02/2020 5:03:12 PM

A strengthened training program designed around flexibility for general practice registrars interested in rural and remote work will begin next year, the RACGP has announced.

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The rollout of stronger and more flexible training means the 150 general practice registrars accepted into the Australian General Practice Training – Rural Generalist (AGPT RG) program will benefit from as early as next year.
The revised program will give registrars a head start on the planned Rural Generalist Fellowship as part of a smooth transition.
Vice President and Chair of RACGP Rural, Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda made the announcement at the RACGP’s Rural GP Summit in Alice Springs in front of more than 110 key stakeholders.
‘[We will] improve the flexibility in both rural training and the current AGPT RG policy. This flexibility in rural training is intended to make it more attractive to those interested in pursuing a career in rural or remote general practice,’ he told the summit.
The announcement came after constructive collaboration with Department of Health representatives.
The college will deliver the AGPT RG training in partnership with RTOs.
More than 8500 of RACGP’s 41,000 members are based in rural and remote areas.
Associate Professor Shenouda called on young doctors with an interest in serving rural and remote communities to consider the training.
‘[This] program will train future GPs to deliver both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, as well as components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings,’ he said.
‘You will develop skills in areas where there are gaps in rural services such as obstetrics, mental health, palliative care and emergency medicine. Having this range of skills under your belt at the end of your registrar training will be enormously beneficial to your career – you are setting yourself up for future success.
‘Not only that, registrars undertaking AGPT RG training will have flexibility in timing and can chose to complete the components of the training in an order that works best for them. We are perfectly placed as an organisation to support GPs outside of major cities.’
Community general practice remains at the heart of RACGP AGPT RG, and it also equips GPs to provide extended services to meet the healthcare needs of rural and remote communities, Associate Professor Shenouda said.

Doctors enrolled in the AGPT RG or Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) training will be able to transition to the planned Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG) pathway, pending accreditation by the Australian Medical Council.
Associate Professor Shenouda said that registrars working in rural practice, including those undertaking AGPT RG training, could look forward to the many benefits of being based in a rural or remote community.
‘Being based in a rural or remote area is an incredibly rewarding experience. As I often say to medical students, if you train in a rural area you will find the local medical community, including nearby referral hospitals, extremely welcoming,’ he said.
‘Straight away you will be a member of a tight-knit team. You will get to know the patients you treat and find it easy to get involved in the local community. Your presence will not be taken for granted.
‘There is a simple reason why GPs who train and upskill in a rural or remote setting tend to remain there caring for their patients – they are thriving in their work and enjoying what they do.
‘Every community across Australia deserves access to highly trained GPs who understand the unique needs and circumstances of rural and remote areas, and the RACGP is playing a key role in making that happen.’
Attending the summit were representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health State Councils, state and federal governments, Rural Clinical Schools, Primary Health Networks, Rural Generalist programs, Regional Training Hubs, RACGP Rural Faculty, RACGP GP in Training Faculty, GPRA, RDAA, Rural Workforce organisations, and Regional Training Organisations.
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