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Australia : RACGP strongly supports the appointment of a Rural Health Commissioner.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has warmly welcomed todays announcement to appoint a National Rural Health Commissioner and commitment to pursue a National Rural Generalist Training Pathway.

The RACGP represents the primary healthcare needs of patients in metropolitan, regional, rural remote and very remote Australia.

RACGP Rural has 7,353 GP members who work and support patients in rural Australia. More than 30 percent of Australians live and work in rural Australia yet rural Australians receive far less than 30 percent of health funding.

It's time for politicians to recognise rural Australians and develop an equitable funding model to support rural patients, not just for health care but also to address the social determinants of health, RACGP president Dr Frank R Jones said.

The RACGP therefore calls on all political parties to support the appointment of an Independent Rural Health Commissioner.

Defining the terms of reference and outcome measures are critical to success of this proposal.

The RACGP has long supported general practitioner training which reflects specific community needs and has in place a vibrant and well-developed curriculum to support this training.

The RACGP also supports the acquisition of advanced rural procedural skills training in areas such as surgery, anaesthetics and obstetrics.

Rural patients need these skills and expertise in areas such as aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and advanced skills in palliative care and many more.

Other health specialists are few and far between in rural Australia and along with other specialist colleges, the RACGP has developed training options that support rural Australians, Dr Jones said.

For over 50 years the RACGP has supported rural GPs to acquire advanced rural skills with 531 GPs awarded a Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) which includes rural procedural GPs in surgery, anaesthetics, obstetrics and emergency medicine.

Recognising that rural communities need more than procedural GPs, the RACGP has expanded its rural training opportunities to include six other advanced rural skills in palliative care, mental health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, child health, adult internal medicine and small town rural general practice.

More recently we have expanded the scope of training of the Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice for GPs who are moving beyond whole-patient care to whole-of-community care including aspects of public health and advocacy.

The RACGP welcomes increased support for the acquisition of advanced rural skills through both the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) Many rural GPs are closely affiliated with the RACGP and ACRRM.

Our rural communities need every one of us and Government needs to adequately support rural General Practice and the concept of rural generalism.Dr Jones said.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 25, 2016
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