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Welcome initiative to help junior doctors sample rewarding nature of rural practice

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The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a new Federal Government initiative to support junior doctors to undertake training rotations in regional and rural areas, saying it is an important element in building a future rural doctor workforce.

The Government has announced that the new Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF) will support at least 60 full-time places annually (equal to 240 accredited intern rotations) to access a training rotation in primary care settings in regional and rural areas.

Junior doctors participating in the initiative will train in a variety of primary care settings, such as general practice and Aboriginal Medical Services.

"This new initiative in part replaces the former Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP), which was very successful in enabling many junior doctors to sample the rewarding nature of rural general practice — indeed, a significant number of junior doctors took up rural practice following their PGPPP placements" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

"While the PGPPP was discontinued by the Coalition Government at the end of 2014, it is good to see a new initiative now up and running to replace it. "We will need to assess the fine details of the RJDTIF, in terms of the extent to which the new program supports both the junior doctors participating in the program and the practices that host and train them, but with the right supports in place it will be a positive and worthwhile initiative.

"It will provide the next link in the chain for the Government's plan to boost the number of medical students undertaking their training in regional, rural and remote areas, and it will also help feed junior doctors into the National Rural Generalist Pathway that is being progressed by the Government.

"The more we can deliver a seamless path for getting young doctors from medical school into rural generalist practice, the better things will look for delivering a vibrant Rural Generalist doctor workforce for the future, and the more our rural communities will benefit."