Top ten reasons to work as a Rural GP in Australia

By , Melinda McCarthy published on 24/06/2020

If you love everything about medicine, if you enjoy combining Emergency Care, Surgery, Obstetrics, Anaesthetics, Medicine and Outpatient Work, chances are you have the perfect temperament for working as a Rural GP.

If you're heeding the call of rural life and contemplating the Rural Generalist Pathway, here are ten reasons to just do it.


Broad Scope of Practice

Doctors who choose the generalist pathway thrive on an extended scope of practice where each day's caseload is unique. You’re the type of doctor who is generally up for a challenge as you never know who is going to walk through the door and what you’ll be presented with. Your broad skill set and knowledge might find you treating a snake bite, administering immunisations, managing chronic disease, delivering a baby, performing a surgical procedure, or working one day a week at an AMS outreach clinic. There is just so much variety!

Diverse Work Environments

Working as a rural General Practitioner gives you the chance to work across an immense range of environments. You’ll have the skills to deliver services in the ED, ambulatory care, home, hospital, outreach clinics, aged cared facilities, royal flying doctors service and of course the general practice. “A day in the life of a Generalist might involve getting up in the morning to do a caesar, managing a trauma case in emergency at midday, going back to your clinic and seeing someone struggling with depression, and then going back to the hospital, managing someone with pneumonia or complex diabetes in the evening”. RDAA President, Ochre Health DMS & Rural Generalist Dr John Hall

Chance to Evolve Your Skill Set

There are so many more opportunities to grow and develop than in urban settings, as there are fewer specialised professionals working in rural communities. You will become more resourceful, rely on your clinical instincts and gain in confidence quickly. You will navigate the complexities of your patients' often chronic and complex illnesses, providing acute care when things turn ugly, working with them when they try to get things back on track, and caring for them when they are in the hospital.

Working as a Rural Generalist can also increase your career options as you explore opportunities in clinical leadership, international aid and retrieval medicine.

You Can Practice Almost Anywhere

Did you know that skilled rural doctors can in fact work anywhere and everywhere and are not confined to practicing medicine in rural regions? Working across a range of comprehensive primary care and sub-specialties affords you the flexibility of also being able to practice in urban centres. Many of our Ochre locum doctors do just that, enjoying a mix of rural and metropolitan-based contracts.

Earn Much Higher Locum Rates

It’s no secret that when you locum in rural and remote areas you earn higher locum rates. Demand for skilled practitioners is greater in these areas; consequently public health systems, AMS and medical centres pay more for their workforce. Working as a Visiting Medical Officer at the local hospital will not only attract higher rates but will also give you the chance to practice your procedural skills in a less chaotic environment. In almost all cases, accommodation, travel and car are also included in the locum contract.

Lifestyle & Cultural Experience

For most of us who were born and bred in the big smoke, cultural experiences are far and few between. Rural doctors get to travel Australia, experience unique places, meet interesting people and see how they live and learn different things. Taking a step into remote Australia will give you a chance to really discover our nations roots and get closer to nature. You’ll find tighter-knit communities where people are more resourceful and resilient too.

You are Valued and Appreciated

One of the most satisfying things we hear from General Practitioners who work in rural and regional areas is how valued they feel through their ability to provide continuity of care. You really get to know people and appreciate the full experience of their lives. By living in the communities that you serve, the value of your work increases dramatically.

Help bridge the health inequity gap

General Practice in country Australia has been struggling for many years. With higher mortality rates than in urban locations, rural patient health outcomes are lagging. Taking your skills to the bush allows you to make a real difference to communities. “I know from personal experience that working in remote locations is one of the most rewarding career options a doctor can choose. You provide comprehensive care and are often the difference between an outreach clinic staying open or an ED being able to function adequately”. Co-founder & Director Ochre Recruitment & Rural Generalist Dr Hamish Meldrum

Sea Change, Rural Style

The benefits of living and working in the outback, in rural and remote Australia or in the many regional townships dotted across this great southern land are aplenty. If you have a family, country living can bring a sense of well being and safety. With ample green spaces, quiet neighbourhoods and fresh air, children can explore their surroundings more freely than their city- based peers. With less people, less traffic, the chance to live on acreage, a more relaxed pace, access to the fresh produce and natural landscapes, what’s not to like about going rural!

Sponsorship for Registrars

If you are a GP in training, you can apply for sponsorship with Ochre Health. By supporting doctors through the ACRRM Independent Pathway, our aim is to provide excellent support and training as you develop the broad range of skills needed to be effective in rural practice. The ACRRM program costs around $25,000 per participant per year. The Commonwealth provides funding of $15,000, while Ochre Health will cover the gap, including the application, enrolment, education program, and training support fees.  We are proud to say Ochre Health have sponsored 11 doctors to date.

If you are registrar and would like more information about how we can sponsor you, please get in touch with Phil Dixon.


Ochre Recruitment has a proud and longstanding history of working with rural doctors, giving us unprecedented access to opportunities across Australia, not to mention extensive market knowledge. Our business was born “in the bush” and our passion for rural general medicine has never wavered and is demonstrated in our support for a National Generalist Pathway.

Browse some of our locum and permanent rural GP roles.

Alternatively Register Now

Subscribe to get
the latest updates


a call