National News

$27 million boost to support trainee doctors navigate rural training

Rollout of the National Rural Generalist Pathway continues to progress with the Australian Government’s $27 million investment to establish Rural Coordination Units to support junior doctors navigating the training pipeline. 

Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton, said Rural Coordination Units, located within each State and Territory, will work closely with the health sector to develop strong links between hospital and primary care networks for the Rural Generalist Pathway.

“The Rural Generalist Pathway is developing the skilled medical workforce our regions need and is a central element of the Australian Government’s $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

“In order to develop the best rural workforce we can, it is vital we support those within the Pathway.

“Rural Coordination Units will assist rural generalist trainees navigate multiple clinical and training components for the first six years of their post-graduate training,” Minister Coulton 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.

“Whether in general practice or the local hospital, this funding is about supporting rural generalist trainees who deliver health services in our communities.”

The establishment of the Pathway was a core focus of the inaugural National Rural Health Commissioner Paul Worley, who made a series of recommendations to support the rollout of the Pathway. The Coalition Government backed the rollout of the Pathway by committing $62.2 million in the 2019-20 Budget.

“The Australian Government has laid the foundations of the Pathway to ensure rural generalists are trained, recognised, and resourced to meet the critical health needs of rural and remote communities,” Minister Coulton said.

“We are committed to progressing other key elements of the Pathway through consultation with the sector and with state and territory representatives in coming weeks.

“This will provide a valuable opportunity for further planning and consideration of the remaining recommendations from the National Rural Health Commissioner to implement the Pathway.”

The development of the coordination units – an essential component of the Pathway – was a result of consultations with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, General Practice Registrars Australia, General Practice Supervisors Australia and the National Rural Health Commissioner.

“Making sure the seven million people living in regional, rural, and remote Australia have access to quality health care is an Australian Government priority,” Minister Coulton said.

“We’re investing in the Pathway to get more doctors into rural and remote areas to improve access to services and better outcomes for local communities, while also reducing hospital admissions, a reliance on locum services, and the need for patient travel for services.”