THE Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia (RDAA) is calling on the major political parties to commit to a national rural training pipeline to deliver more doctors to the bush.
“It would be just as important as any major infrastructure project and would benefit many thousands of rural Australians at a fraction of the cost,” president Sheilagh Cronin said.
“It would also be a major foundation in ensuring a solid economic future for rural Australia, and the rural industries and businesses that contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy.”
The RDAA has proposed a national advanced rural training program to deliver doctors who can provide advanced care in both general practice and hospitals to rural areas.
It has called for increased funding for rural clinical training places, to give medical students and young doctors more opportunities to train in rural settings and experience a career and life in rural Australia.
Another measure the RDAA has proposed is better support and incentives, and better infrastructure support, to allow rural practices to deliver a larger range of health services and provide more training.
The representative body also wants better recognition and incentives for doctors who develop expertise and advanced skills in rural and remote medicine, and who deliver primary, acute and after-hours care to rural communities, as well as “more realistic” incentives to encourage doctors to move and stay in the bush.
“Quite apart from being very cost-effective, RDAA’s proposals would underpin the sustainable delivery of general practice and hospital-based medical care across country Australia for decades to come,” Dr Cronin said.