The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has reiterated its call for political parties to formally recognise rural generalism as a specialised field within general practice.
Speaking ahead of April’s federal budget, ACRRM President Dr Ewen McPhee said the government needed to commit funding to the Australian Medical Council for the accreditation process of rural generalists GPs.
“Formal recognition of rural generalism is the first step to removing the bureaucratic roadblocks to rural patients receiving the services they need from doctors who are trained, recognised and resourced to provide them,” Dr McPhee said.
“Building a strong workforce of doctors trained and recognised as experts to meet rural people’s medical needs is critical to improving health outcomes. A process of formal recognition of their field of practice is a necessary step forward,” he said.
The Rural Generalist Pathway plan is to ensure rural generalists are trained to apply skills across a broad scope of patients with the understanding that rural patients do not have access to many specialised services.
These services include emergency care, obstetrics and mental health.
With many rural communities facing drought, floods and fire, ACRRM says the need for government to provide urgent support is clear.
“Government needs to proactively address the underlying systems and issues that feed the ongoing disparity between rural and urban health,” Dr McPhee said.
ACRRM says rural doctors should able to receive the full scope of training and recognition they need to best serve rural and remote communities.
The College says this is only possible if regulatory systems recognise, support and resource practices across the GP’s full skill set.