In an interview with the ABC in Queensland this week, Dr Giuseppin explained that we’re still struggling to attract and retain doctors in remote areas. He argues that we need to address the maldistribution of doctors between cities and rural areas by making rural careers more attractive. Encouragingly, we have seen some increase in the number of doctors in some regional centres and larger rural towns.
“I have good reason to be optimistic,” Dr Giuseppin told the ABC.
One of the measures that may help is providing more opportunities for doctors to train in rural areas, which the Australian Government hopes will give future doctors a taste of country living and tempt them to stay in a rural or regional location. Jasmine Elliott from the Australian Medical Students’ Association told the ABC in NSW she felt success would be limited. “You have students who want nothing more than to practise and to train rurally but following their degree have to relocate to metropolitan centres to do the training in the areas that they’re passionate about.” Doctors deterred by regional NSW’s ‘professional isolation’, consider general practice ‘poor cousin’
Dr Guiseppin sees the role of rural doctors as central to any regional and rural quarantine plans in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It can work, he argues in his column under the right circumstances and managed by local doctors and doctors with significant rural expertise. ‘As rural doctors, we must insist on rural leadership as the centrepiece of any regional quarantine system,’ he argued.