26 September 2023

Regional centres to go for the doctor

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Hundreds of medical general practitioners (GP) are to train to work in regional Australia under a new scheme developed by the Department of Health.

Designed to boost GP numbers in the bush, the Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton said the Department’s Rural Generalist Training Scheme (RGTS) would see over 400 GPs trained over the next four years.

Mr Coulton said the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) would deliver the Government-funded program and provide up to 100 Rural Generalist GP training places each year.

“The end goal of the RGTS is for patients to have increased access to primary health services in rural and remote communities,” Mr Coulton said.

“Rural and remote communities want safe and high quality primary healthcare services delivered by well-trained GPs with training in an extended rural skill set,” he said.

“By providing more rural training places, we will open more GPs’ eyes to the significant benefits of being a rural generalist and living in a regional community.”

Mr Coulton said rural generalist GPs were critical to the delivery of healthcare in rural and remote communities, as their specialist skills and training allowed them to provide medical care in a wider range of circumstances.

The Minister said the initial intake of 60 GPs would begin training by the second half of the year.

He said solving rural doctor shortages in the bush was complex and required a multifaceted approach.

“To have a lasting impact and create sustainable health care services in our rural communities, we need Governments, the rural health sector and regional communities working together to establish the right mix of short, medium and long-term programs and incentives,” Mr Coulton said.

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