The Victorian Rural Medical Training Network welcomes Minster for Rural Health Fiona Nash’s announcement of a plan to develop pathways for rural medical practitioners to address the shortage of doctors outside major metropolitan centres.
The Victorian Rural Medical Training Network (VRMTN) is a partnership of the three Victorian medical schools – Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and Monash University – formed to expand rural and regional postgraduate vocational medical training.
Head of Monash University’s School of Rural Health, Professor Robyn Langham, said that the best way to encourage medical graduates to practice in rural and regional areas is to provide pathways that enable them to train in the bush.
“The real problem is that graduates are forced back to capital cities for up to seven years of postgraduate training in their chosen specialty because training programs are limited or non-existent in rural and regional areas,” said Professor Langham
“This is the time in their lives when they start to put down roots and if they’re training in a major city, that’s where they tend to settle.”
Deakin University’s Executive Dean of Health, Professor Brendan Crotty agreed that the Minster’s announcement would provide the support needed to successfully implement the government’s Integrated Rural Training Pipeline for Medicine announced in December 2015, which the VRMTN supports.
“Deakin is delighted at the recent announcement of Australia’s first Rural Health Commissioner,” said Professor Crotty. “This is good news for rural communities dealing with medical workforce shortages.”
Head of the Melbourne Medical School at the University of Melbourne, Professor Geoff McColl, also welcomed Senator Nash’s announcement and the investment in the development of rural health workforce. “The future of building this workforce is the purposeful construction of training pathways. In this context the VRMTN model represents a cost effective and sustainable long-term solution to the rural and regional medical workforce shortage”