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Better GP training to be given to medical practioners in rural areas

13 February, 2007

The Australian Medical Council has granted initial accreditation to the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to provide general practice training.

The decision paves the way for the Commonwealth Government to recognise Fellows of ACRRM as general practitioners under Medicare from April 2007. Services provided by recognised Fellows of ACRRM will attract higher A1 Medicare benefits.

The increased number of registrars pursuing rural medicine, together with access to the higher Medicare benefits, should help to attract and retain more GPs with procedural skills in rural Australia.

The recognition of ACRRM provides an alternative pathway to vocational recognition for general practitioners. ACRRM’s accredited training program will cover a range of skills including emergency medicine, anaesthetics, obstetrics and minor surgery, which are often necessary for quality medical care in small rural communities without immediate access to specialist care.

Doctors who were awarded Fellowship of ACRRM without going through a training course will need to be assessed before being granted vocational recognition. The Department of Health and Ageing is working with ACRRM to develop the assessment process to be used for these doctors.