The process of having Rural Generalist Medicine recognised as a specialist field within the speciality of general practice has taken a significant step forward.

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have submitted a joint application to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) to formalise national recognition of the distinct work and skill set of Rural Generalists.

RACGP Vice President and Chair of the Rural Council Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda and ACRRM President Dr Ewen McPhee agree that this is a critical step toward achieving a thriving Rural Generalist workforce which will meet the healthcare needs of people living outside urban areas.

 “Formal national recognition will create a clear career path for aspiring Rural Generalists.  It will also address the many system barriers that trainees and practitioners currently face in gaining their qualifications and providing their skilled services in rural and remote areas,” Dr McPhee said.

“A strong Rural Generalist workforce is a critical component in addressing the well-documented inequities in access to healthcare for rural and remote communities,” he added.

“We are particularly pleased that within a year of the National Rural Generalist Taskforce report being presented to the Minister, the two Colleges have worked together to prepare a strong submission to the MBA,” Associate Professor Shenouda said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the MBA on the extensive process of analysis and national consultation.”

The Commonwealth Government has committed funding to support the Colleges to undertake research and engagement as part of its commitment to the National Rural Generalist Pathway.

The application was developed as a collaboration between the two general practice colleges with the support and assistance of the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Rural Generalist Medicine definition: A Rural Generalist (RG) is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future health care needs of Australian rural and remote communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, and required components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team.

Source: ACRRM