Submission to the Medical Board of Australia on recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine as a new field of specialty practice within the current specialty of General Practice

12 December 2023

Introduction

The Alliance writes to support the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) application to have Rural Generalist Medicine recognised as a new field of speciality practice within the speciality of General Practice, under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine will: 

  • Recognise the extended scope of practice that enables Rural Generalists to provide comprehensive, high-quality care that residents of rural and remote Australia deserve, representing one third of the Australian population. 
  • Standardise and increase the status of Rural Generalist Medicine which is important for attracting doctors to rural generalist careers and sustaining a skilled rural workforce in the longer term. 
  • Supplement, support, complement, and not compete with existing rural general practice. 
  • Enable further development of Rural Generalist Medicine as a specialty that is tailored and responsive to rural and remote community needs and the unique challenges of providing healthcare in isolated, low resource settings that exist across much of the Australian continent, 
  • Work towards addressing health workforce maldistribution, by enhancing career opportunities, shaping a health system that better meets the needs of rural Australians, and promoting rural lifestyles. 
  • Enhance continuity of care, enable local care without travel, increase consumer health literacy and health system navigation to improve health outcomes for people who live in rural settings. 

All Australians, no matter where they live, must have access to the healthcare they need to maximise their health and wellbeing, and hence opportunities to contribute to society (including economically) and live fulfilling lives. The Alliance believes a well-recognised, strong Rural Generalist workforce will provide rural Australians with equitable access to the high-quality healthcare they deserve. 

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