Equity for rural Australians: future doctors call on new government for change
24th May 2019
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) Rural Health Committee is urging the newly-elected government to invest in equitable healthcare for rural Australians.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Tony Bartone agrees that the rural health workforce needs and deserves help, highlighting the issue this morning during his Presidential address at the AMA’s National Conference.
“The AMA will help rural doctors get and keep the support they need.” Dr Bartone said.
Maternal health services exemplify the loss of the rural workforce, with more than half of Australia’s small maternity departments closing in the last 20 years.
“The closure of rural maternity units needs to stop. We need to increase funding for rural training in all specialty training programs.” AMSA Rural Health Chair, Ms Jacoba van Wees stated.
“AMSA Rural Health believes funding should be provided to train doctors from all specialties in rural areas, with more than a token compulsory term.
“Training GP Obstetricians through the National Rural Generalist Training Pathway, and reforming the GP Rural Incentive Program would take the pressure off metropolitan obstetric services and bring our patients closer to their support networks at home, while safely delivering their babies.
“This is just one example of how we can better support our rural communities. They deserve better” Ms van Wees said.
AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, of which over one third would practice rurally without such training and financial barriers.
AMSA 2019 Public Relations Officer