Rural Health Workforce Strategy
- Australian Government Department of Health, Ageing. General Practice Rural Incentives Program . In
- (Online) 2010. Available: http://www…
INTRODUCTION Australian Government initiatives promote rural training placements, supported medical school places, and incentives that attract doctors to areas of need. The purpose of this study was to report on the preparedness of medical students and junior doctors to commit to working in areas of workforce shortage. METHODS Medical students and junior doctors across all Australian states and territories completed a web-based survey assessing career attitudes and intentions. Participants were asked to indicate their level of preparedness to commit to working in an area of need. RESULTS Completed surveys were received from 760 medical students and 264 junior doctors. A substantial proportion of this sample were prepared to make some form of commitment to providing medical services in a rural area. The greatest proportion (38.3%) was prepared to make a small commitment equal to an irregular locum service of 1 week or 1 month per year. CONCLUSION Government policies and incentives may be having an effect on medical students' and junior doctors' preparedness to work in rural and remote areas. Medical educators should encourage students and junior doctors to take up short-term placements/opportunities and to maintain links with rural communities. Practice opportunities that offer varying lengths of commitment should be advertised widely so junior doctors are aware of them and can apply.