More rural GP opportunities needed

4 Aug 2016

The AMA last week called on the Government to invest in the AMA’s Community Residency Program to encourage more young doctors to choose a career in general practice and work in regional and remote Australia.

“All Australians deserve access to high quality timely medical care, and the AMA’s Community Residency Program takes steps to ensure patients in regional and remote Australia get the same access and quality of treatment as those in urban areas,” Dr Gannon said.

Last December, the Government announced funding for the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline, aimed at improving retention of postgraduate prevocational doctors in country areas. While the AMA supports the proposal, it does not come close to replacing the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP), which was scrapped in the 2014 Federal Budget. The abolition of the PGPPP has left general practice in a position where it is the only major medical specialty unable to offer Doctors in Training (DiTs) a structured prevocational training experience before they make a career choice.

The AMA has recommended the Community Residency Program to fill the gap left by the abolition of the PGPPP.

“Positive extended rural placements have been shown to be effective at encouraging doctors to take up careers in rural areas. Our plan sets out the design and funding principles that would support opportunities for DiTs to undertake rotations of up to 13 weeks into general practice, which would help them experience life as a GP and enhance their clinical experience.

Full media release