A landmark agreement has been reached today to develop a national framework for Rural Generalist medical specialty.
The agreement has been delivered by the National Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley and announced at the rural and regional health forum in Canberra today.
Professor Worley’s first priority is to deliver a Rural Generalist Pathway to increase doctor numbers into the regions.
Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, welcomed the historic agreement between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
“Doctors in the bush are faced with complex medical challenges every day in rural communities and provide the only access to specialist medical services.
“Whether it’s a doctor working with a specialist through telehealth to perform surgery to stabilise a patient in farm accident or delivering a baby, a Rural Generalist Pathway recognises the advanced skillset rural doctors are required to have.
“Working together the Colleges will build a strong, sustainable and skilled national medical workforce to meet the needs of our rural and remote communities.” Minister McKenzie said.
“Australians deserve high quality health care no matter where they live. We know many regional communities find it difficult to recruit and retain doctors and there is a maldistribution of the medical workforce which unfairly affects these areas.”
Under the agreement, the two colleges will now lead work on a national framework.
“The Collingrove Agreement is the crucial first step in developing a National Rural Generalist Pathway. The two Colleges agree on our goal, and they bring their combined strength to reach out together to Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to build on the existing achievements to create the pathway and supports for a truly sustainable rural medical workforce – a basic human right for rural people and a requirement for long term economic growth in our regions,” Professor Worley said.
“Our two GP Colleges have together recognised the critical role that Rural Generalists play in meeting the health needs of rural communities.
“Rural Australia needs great GPs. And rural Australia needs great Rural Generalists.”
Minister McKenzie said whilst there is still work to be done to improve healthcare services in rural Australia, this is the first step to creating a lasting solution to the medical workforce issues that are facing rural communities.
“My focus is to improve healthcare for all Australians especially those in regional areas,” Minister McKenzie said.
“I congratulate RACGP President, Dr Bastian Seidel and ACRRM President, Professor Ruth Stewart for working together and reaching agreement to take this important Pathway forward.”
Media contact: Kate Woodbridge: 0409 679 924 or Sally-Anne Kahl: 0427 604 564
The Collingrove Agreement
Representatives from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) recently met with the National Rural Health Commissioner at Collingrove Homestead in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, to explore opportunities for collaboration.
The two Colleges are determined to secure a strong, sustainable and skilled national medical workforce to meet the needs of our rural and remote communities. The two Colleges have agreed to work together to lead the development of a national framework for Rural Generalism.
Consistent with the Cairns Consensus Statement on Rural Generalist Medicine and acknowledging the contextual position statements on Rural Generalism by ACRRM and the RACGP respectively, the two Colleges propose that a Rural Generalist (RG) is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future health care needs of Australian rural and remote communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, and required components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team.
A Rural Generalist Pathway Taskforce is being formed, led by the National Rural Health Commissioner, which will ensure broad input from across the rural health sector into this Pathway. Further details of, and ways to contribute to, this historic work will be announced soon.