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City doctors: the push to go bush

a rural doctor
© Igenkin and Kurhan |

A new national program will encourage city doctors to work in rural areas to expand their skills and give remote doctors a break.

The Rural Education Assistance Program (Rural LEAP) will offer 150 urban GPs emergency training in exchange for them working temporarily in regional areas.

Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon, announced the program this week, on a tour of Mt Isa in north-west Queensland.

‘Through Rural LEAP, urban GPs will be able to get training in emergency medicine in return for an agreement to undertake four weeks of paid locum work in rural and remote locations,’ Ms Roxon said.

Mr Snowdon added that the program will give GPs from cities the push to go bush.

‘There is evidence that many urban GPs have an interest in rural locum work but do not always feel skilled or confident enough to carry out the many and varied tasks often required of GPs in rural and remote areas,’ said Mr Snowdon.

The program will allow the rural doctors a chance to have a break or pursue professional development.

‘Our current rural workforce is ageing and needs opportunities to refresh; this initiative goes towards helping GPs in the bush get a well-deserved rest,’ said Mr Snowdon.

The federal government is providing $790 000 over four years to the program, which is jointly administered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

GPs interested in taking part in Rural LEAP can apply through either ACRRM or RACGP from 1 February 2010.

Program Contact Details

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM): 1800 223 226
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP): 1800 636 764

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