The Victorian Rural Generalist Program (VRGP) is a coordination unit that supports a statewide end-to-end training program for the Rural Generalist workforce to train, work and live in rural and regional Victoria. The program provides a diverse and rewarding training experience, with its long-term objective to increase employment of Rural Generalists in rural health services and communities across Victoria.
The Victorian Department of Health, the GP Colleges, Regional and Rural Health Services and General Practices have supported rural medical workforce programs and play an integral role to ensure that trainees achieve their goal of becoming a Rural Generalist.
Recognition of RG
In December 2019 the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), with assistance from the National Rural Health Commissioner, jointly submitted the first stage application to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) for the recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine as a specialty practice field within General Practice. It is a key element of the implementation of a National Rural Generalist Pathway for a well-supported and coordinated training and career pathway for a national RG workforce.
There is currently an extensive trained Rural Generalist (RG) workforce but its sustainability and growth is hampered by the lack of formal status within the nation’s health systems. The attainment of recognition of the specialist field is seen as a necessary step towards a robust national RG workforce.
The National Pathway
In December 2018, the National Rural Health Commissioner advised the Australian Government on the development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway. This is a dedicated medical training pathway to attract, retain and support rural generalist doctors. The pathway recognises the extra requirements and skills of rural generalists and supports them to meet the diverse health needs of regional, rural and remote communities.
The Victorian Rural Generalist Program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health (DH) and the Australian Government Department of Health. DH has established a Statewide Reference Committee (SRC) to monitor and oversee the implementation of the VRGP, including the activities of the Regional Networks in establishing Rural Generalist pathways that meet the needs of local communities.
SRC members include representatives of DH, Statewide Clinical Lead and Statewide Coordinator, Regional Network chairs, RACGP, ACRRM, Victorian Regional Training Hubs Alliance, GP Training Organisations, Rural Workforce Agency of Victoria, Primary Health Networks, the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria and the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria.