Rural doctors from around Australia completed the 2019 AMA Rural Health Issues Survey in March. The results of the survey paint a picture of a rural health system in need of investment in infrasturcture and urgent workforce support. It also reveals a dedicated and passionate workforce who have high rates of professional satisfaction and enjoy the rural lifestyle.
In 2019, rural doctors told us that their top ten priorities are:
- The need for extra funding and resources to support improved staffing levels at rural hospitals;
- Encouraging medical colleges to include rural rotations for trainees to rural areas;
- Ensuring that rural hospitals have modern facilities and equipment;
- The need for access to high-speed broadband for medical practices, encompassing general practice and specialist practice (reflecting the increasing use of telehealth);
- Increasing the available infrastructure, resources and supervision to support the training of junior doctors in rural areas;
- Establishing regional training networks to enhance opportunities for specialist training in rural areas and support rurally based career paths;
- Establishing more integrated programs to allow rural doctors to maintain and upgrade their procedural skills in public hospitals;
- Increasing incentives, such as rural incentive payments, to recruit/retain doctors to work in rural areas;
- Ensuring general practitioners with recognised procedural skills can access appropriate hospital credentialing and facilities; and
- Increasing funding for ancillary staff at rural hospitals.
The full report is available here.