The AMA’s five-point plan to improve the rural medical workforce
This week the AMA released its Position Statement – Rural Workforce Initiatives which outlines a comprehensive five-point plan to encourage more doctors to live and work in rural and remote Australia, support students to train in rural areas and improve patient access to care.
AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, outlined the importance of increasing the rural medical workforce.
“About seven million Australians live in regional, rural, and remote areas, and they often have more difficulty accessing health services than their city cousins. They often have to travel long distances for care, and rural hospital closures and downgrades are seriously affecting the future delivery of health care in rural areas,” he said.
The Position Statement supports rural residents who want to be doctors to study and train while staying connected to their rural roots – evidence shows that doctors who come from a rural background, or complete some training in a rural area are more likely to live and work in a rural location.
“Rural workforce policy must reflect the evidence. Doctors who come from a rural background, or who spend time training in a rural area, are more likely to take up long-term practice in a rural location,” Dr Gannon said.