Providing the missing link
Postgraduate training opportunities are acknowledged as the “missing link” in the pipeline of medical training. Through the federal government’s support of Rural Clinical Schools, universities have been successful in recruiting students of rural origin into medicine, training students in regional and rural locations, and encouraging the uptake of rural intern positions.
However, until the creation of the Regional Training Hubs, most medical graduates interested in pursuing specialist training needed to move to the city to do so. During this time, young doctors often put down roots in the metropolitan areas and it is difficult to entice them back out to rural practice. The Regional Training Hubs have been funded by the federal government to facilitate the development of specialist training positions in regional areas.
Two hubs in Victoria
Monash University has been awarded two hubs. The North-West Regional Training Hub based at Monash Rural Health Bendigo is responsible for developing rural and regional prevocational and postgraduate positons across all of the north west of Victoria from Bendigo to Mildura. The Gippsland Regional Training Hub, based at Monash Rural Health Warragul is responsible for developing training positions across all of Gippsland.
The hubs’ key roles include:
- creating a streamlined pipeline of medical training opportunities in rural and regional areas
- enhancing capacity and variety of specialist training in rural and regional areas
- identifying and supporting students and junior doctors who intend to practice rurally.
To achieve their aims, the hubs will liaise closely with relevant education professionals and health service stakeholders, including local hospitals and health services, state and territory governments, other universities, specialist colleges (including general practice colleges), postgraduate medical councils, local health practitioners and regional training organisations.