The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the main representative body for rural general practice, welcomes today’s funding announcement by the Federal Government for the National Rural Generalist Pathway program.
Chair of RACGP Rural, Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda, said the $62.2 million investment over four years to fast track the implementation of the National Rural Generalist Pathway program is a vital first step towards tackling the shortage of doctors in the bush.
“A Rural Generalist Pathway for trainee doctors will play a key role in ensuring Australians living in rural and regional communities have access to a highly trained GP who understands their individual needs and circumstances.
“Many regional and rural areas of Australia are in desperate need of GPs.
“The specific training for Rural Generalist GP will ensure that GPs and registrars have the right skills to practice in rural settings and can address the shifting needs of rural and remote communities, such as the ever-evolving needs of mental health and palliative care.
“If these doctors have the skills and support they need to practice in rural Australia, they will be more likely to remain there caring for their patients for many years. This would make a significant difference to the current shortage of doctors in rural areas.
“The RACGP will launch its own component of the national plan, the Rural Generalist Fellowship, from next year.
“A Rural Generalist Fellowship with the RACGP would encourage GPs to practice in the areas of Australia that have been struggling to attract and retain appropriately trained GPs.
“I would like to acknowledge the support of the National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley and the President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) A/Prof Ewen McPhee, as well as all members of the Rural Generalist Task Force in developing the National Rural Generalist Pathway.
“I would like to thank the Government, Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP and Federal Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie for their support for this initiative.
“I also welcome the commitment by the Federal Shadow Health Minister, Catherine King MP, to honour the funding should Labor be elected to government in the upcoming federal election.
“The RACGP looks forward to continuing discussions with the elected government to ensure that the program is fully funded, to ensure its success.”