Regional post-graduate training hubs to help keep junior doctors in rural Australia

Junior doctors will soon have more opportunities to build careers in rural or regional areas following the establishment of 26 new regional postgraduate training hubs across Australia, with two hubs awarded to Monash University.

Junior doctors will soon have more opportunities to build careers in rural or regional areas following the establishment of 26 new regional postgraduate training hubs across Australia, with two hubs awarded to Monash University.

The Monash Rural Health hubs will be located in Bendigo and Traralgon.  

Head of Monash Rural Health, Professor Robyn Langham, said the maldistribution of doctors between metropolitan and rural and regional Australia is well recognised.

“While many of the junior doctors working in rural areas have completed their medical training in one of the 19 rural clinical schools across Australia, our capacity to retain them in the long-term is diminished as too often they return to metro centres to undertake post-graduate training in their chosen specialty – a process that can take up to 7 years,” said Professor Langham.

“And during that time they make the professional and social connections that anchor them in the big cities.

“These new regional hubs will enable Monash University to leverage its existing teaching program, infrastructure and strong connections to health services in north-west Victoria and Gippsland to help junior doctors complete their post-graduate training in regional Victoria, and ultimately reap the benefit of an improved long-term workforce.

“If we can give them the opportunity to stay here to train, they’re more likely to stay here to practise,” Professor Langham said.

Initially the focus will be on identifying appropriate specialities, as well as working collaboratively with the GP training organisations to build improved training pathways for procedural GPs.

Monash Rural Health will work closely with regional health services and Specialist Colleges to establish dedicated training pathways that can be undertaken predominantly in rural and regional areas.

“The two GP Colleges and GP training organisations will also be important partners in establishing new pathways and strengthening existing ones to help build the long-term capacity of procedural GPs,” said Professor Langham.

“It’s already possible to do all your GP training outside a metro centre and the GP training providers will play a key role in broadening postgraduate training opportunities.”

Professor Langham said the new Victorian postgraduate training hubs are the result of a long-term partnership between Monash University, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne and many years promoting the potential benefits of the program to the Federal government.

“Deakin University and the University of Melbourne are establishing hubs in western Victoria and the Goulburn Valley respectively and we’ll continue working in collaboration with them,” she said.

Monash Rural Health has training sites stretching from Mildura and Bendigo in the north-west through to Warragul, Traralgon, Sale, Churchill, Leongatha and Bairnsdale in Gippsland all co-located with regional hospitals. Monash has been training medical students in regional Victoria since the early 1990s.

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