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Australia’s future doctors push for rural training pathway - city-dependent training a poor second choice for some

07 Mar 2019

Media release 

6 March 2019

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the Government to adopt the National Rural Generalist Pathway to provide medical students and junior doctors with more opportunities to live and work in rural and regional communities.

The National Rural Generalist Pathway, developed by National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley, is supported by the AMA and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).AMSA President, Jessica Yang, said that more and more medical students have their sights set on a career as a rural doctor.

“There are many medical students and junior doctors who want to live and work in rural areas, but right now that is not possible,” Ms Yang said.

“In addition to fulfilling the genuine passion of Australia’s junior doctors and serving communities in need, the establishment of the National Rural Generalist Pathway would help to reduce the bottleneck that many junior doctors face when attempting to progress their careers.”

AMSA Rural Health Vice-Chair, Imogen Hines, said that rural clinical schools and internships are currently oversubscribed in many regions.

“The students and young doctors currently in regional and rural Australia will not stay if the current system continues because they will be forced to return to a metropolitan area to train.

“Medical students with a rural interest want and need the opportunity to train rurally from graduation through to fellowship. It is up to the Federal Government to capitalise on this interest to create future rural doctors,” Ms Hines said.

AMSA Rural Health committee member, Illie Hewitt, said that maintaining rural generalists is the only sustainable way for rural health services to offer continuity of care to an isolated and disadvantaged population.

“But rural generalism alone is not a panacea for rural health inequalities,” Ms Hewitt said.

“The Federal Government needs to increase funding for specialist training pathways in rural and regional Australia to increase the proportion of specialist doctors working in these grossly under-serviced areas.”

AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, of which over a third have a vested interest in rural medicine.


Media contact

AMSA 2019 Public Relations Officer

Madeleine Goss


Published: 07 Mar 2019