Trainee doctors are being encouraged to leave the city with the introduction of a rural generalist fellowship by the RACGP.
The fellowship, starting next year, hopes to produce GPs with an understanding of the needs of rural and regional communities.
RACGP Vice President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said the program would encourage GPs to practice in areas with a shortage of medical professionals.
“Often rural GPs are the only medical practitioners available to support a community, so we must be thoroughly trained in the full scope of medicine that our patients will require,” he said.
In rural generalism these training areas include emergency medicine, mental health, obstetrics, palliative care and paediatrics.
The training pathway will be flexible, allowing doctors to enter and exit the fellowship across various stages in their career.
While the program is mainly aimed at registrars, Professor Shenouda says GPs can also become qualified in rural generalism through the program.
This would encourage GPs who wanted to acquire new skills or to have their existing skills recognised by the RACGP to explore the training options in regional and remote towns.
“Many regional and rural areas of Australia are in desperate need of GPs,” he said.
The RACGP also thinks doctors are more likely to remain in towns where they complete the fellowship training.
“The evidence is clear that doctors who train and upskill in a rural or remote setting tend to remain in a rural or remote setting caring for their patients,” Professor Shenouda said.