More rural gp opportunities needed

During Family Doctor Week, the AMA is calling 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.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said the medical training system could do more to produce graduates to work in regional and remote Australia with current medical reduced workforce shortages contributing to the lower health status and life expectancy for people living in these areas.

“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 AMA is calling on the Government to rethink its approach to prevocational training in general practice, and has recommended the establishment of a Community Residency Program to fill the gap left by the abolition of the PGPPP.

“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 Community Residency Program would provide DITS with opportunities to undertake important general practice prevocational training in an effort to encourage more young doctors to choose a career in general practice.

“It would also complement other planned Government initiatives such as the establishment of a National Rural Generalist Pathway to address rural workforce issues.

“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.

“The AMA’s Community Residency Program is affordable, and would be a very worthy investment in our future medical workforce.”

Details of the AMA Community Residency Program for DITS are available at

AMA Family Doctor Week is a celebration of the central role played by local GPs in delivering high quality primary health care across Australia.

The theme of Family Doctor Week, 24-30 July 2016, is ‘Your Family Doctor: Invaluable to your health’.

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