The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed federal fovernment funding to expand a highly successful program that has been providing much-needed locum assistance to rural obstetricians since 2006 and will now also assist rural anaesthetists.
Formerly known as the Specialist Obstetrician Locum Scheme (SOLS), the program has been facilitating the provision of subsidised locum assistance to overworked rural GP and specialist obstetricians, to enable them to have crucial time-off for recreation or upskilling.
But under its new name and with additional funding, the Rural Obstetric and Anaesthetic Locum Scheme (ROALS) will now also facilitate locum assistance for rural GP and specialist anaesthetists.
Given how successful SOLS has been to date,it makes tremendous sense to expand the program to also support rural anaesthetists.
Making it easy and cost-effective to obtain timely locum support can help break down a huge barrier for rural obstetricians and anaesthetists, many of whom are continually on-call for their communities and rarely get away from their practice. This, in turn, can make a real difference in encouraging these doctors to remain in their communities in the longer-term.
By enabling these doctors to have some time off for upskilling or even just to have a well-deserved break, ROALS will continue the great work already undertaken by SOLS, not just in assisting the doctors themselves, but also the rural communities in which they work, by helping to ensure that medical services such as obstetrics and anaesthetics remain available locally.
We commend the federal government on providing the additional funding needed to expand this important program.
SOLS was the brainchild of RDAA’s Rural Specialists Group. As with SOLS, ROALS will continue to be managed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RDAA and the NSW Rural Doctors Network.
DR SHEILAGH CRONIN
RURAL DOCTORS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA