The Rural Generalist Pathway in Australia

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) was established in 1997 with the goal of securing a national system to formalise and preserve the rural generalist model of practice. After 21 years this has been achieved, with ACRRM’s programs now supported by a dedicated, national framework.

ACRRM and Ochre have always recognised the need for doctors working in rural and remote areas to possess additional skills. Rural medicine requires a broad skill set, applicable to such fields as anaesthesia, obstetrics, surgery and more advanced emergency medicine, as well as Indigenous health, aged care, palliative care, addiction medicine and remote medicine. The development and use of these General Practice, Emergency and additional skills represent the broad scope of a rural generalism.

Queensland’s establishment of a QLD Rural Generalist Pathway has precipitated the federal push for a National Generalist Pathway. A National Generalist Pathway will enable all States to put some structure around their own efforts and build some consistency across the country. Doctors training around Australia will be able to move seamlessly between jurisdictions and be afforded equal recognition and processes from state to state.

 

The National Generalist Pathway in Australia is aimed at helping the distribution of the medical workforce, encouraging more doctors to live and work in rural and regional areas. “It is a key workforce initiative for rural Australia. At the end of the day, we need the right doctors with the right skills, in the right place. It's a whole package of structured training, recognition and also remuneration that actually creates a functional rural generalist pathway. It was those key components that have been built up in Queensland that led to the success and the significant increase in doctors working in medium to large sized rural hospitals providing procedural services in that state.”

Dr John Hall

The Generalist Pathway provides foundation training and can fast track development in becoming a rural generalist.

Find out why Dr Hall believes this is an essential workforce initiative for rural communities, and why now, more than ever, we need to reinvest in our rural healthcare system. 

Both the ACRRM and  RACGP also offer a Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARP).

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We Sponsor Registrars To Undertake the ACRRM Generalist Pathway.

Patient health outcomes in rural and remote Australia are lagging behind their urban counterparts, with mortality rates 1.3 times higher than in major cities. With medical practices in these areas also struggling to retain doctors, Ochre Health, Australia’s largest rural medical network, is proactively tackling the challenges—particularly in New South Wales and Tasmania—with an innovative sponsorship program for new general practitioners through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s (ACRRM) Independent Pathway.

Ochre Health can sponsor registrars to undertake the ACRRM program in four of its medically diverse locations: St Helens and Scottsdale, both in Tasmania, and Deniliquin and Lithgow, in NSW

The ACRRM Independent Pathway is a fully accredited general practitioner training and education program, specifically aimed at building the knowledge and skill set needed to care for patients in both rural medical practice and rural hospital settings. 

If you are a registrar and would like to know more about the pathway and how we can sponsor you, please contact Phil Dixon

Where can I work as a Rural Generalist?

Working as a Rural General Practitioner opens the door to an immense diversity of environments and experiences across Australia and New Zealand. 

Whether you want to experience life as an island doctor on Flinders or King Island, practice rural medicine right in the heart of Australia, explore New Zealand’s Wairoa region, or take a deep dive into the untamed natural wilderness that is the West Coast of NZ, we offer a broad range of locum and permanent jobs to choose from. 

If you are a skilled rural doctor who can work across a range of comprehensive primary care and other care areas, you can essentially work anywhere and everywhere. 

As a procedural GP, your broad skillset makes you extremely versatile and you affords the flexibility of practicing in metropolitan centres—we have many locum doctors who enjoy a mix of rural and urban locum contracts. The opportunities that our locum team can offer doctors with rural medical experience across Australia and New Zealand are vast. 

While there are not as many opportunities for rural and remote medicine in New Zealand as there are in Australia, this is set to change substantially over the next two to five years.

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