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Post Fellowship Support Framework for Rural Doctors – A Queensland Pilot Project

The Australian Government has initiated steps to build the foundations for a National Rural Generalist Pathway (NRGP). Jurisdictions have been funded to establish coordination units. In Queensland, this funding will be used to undertake the development of a Post Fellowship Rural Generalist Support Framework.

The project is a partnership between Health Workforce Queensland and Queensland Health’s Queensland Country Practice. Queensland Country Practice have substantial expertise in the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway and the rural hospital environment, while Health Workforce Queensland brings knowledge of the primary care context.

The Aim

The aim of the pilot project is to gather information that will aid the design of the framework. This includes measures required to support rural doctors who have gained fellowship across primary and secondary service domains to acquire skills to meet the needs of rural and remote communities under the national definition of a Rural Generalist as outlined in the Collingrove Agreement:

Rural Generalist (RG) is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future health care needs of Australian Rural and Remote Communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, and required components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team. (Collingrove Agreement 2018)

The Method

Between July and December 2020, Queensland Country Practice and Health Workforce Queensland will undertake the pilot project. At the completion of the project, we will have gained an understanding of the primary and secondary care need of rural and remote communities and doctors’ views on the NRGP, shared employment models, job satisfaction, rurally based career paths, and skills maintenance and acquisition requirements for doctors. Three activities are planned:

Pilot Site – Goondiwindi – Site visits and semi-structured interviews will be conducted with general practitioners, hospital doctors, and hospital executives.

Virtual Site – Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 1 General Practitioner, 1 hospital doctor, and 1 hospital executive in 6 towns, each selected based on an agreed set of criteria.

Statewide Survey – An online survey will be distributed to doctors working in primary and secondary care in regional, rural, and remote communities.

Fellowed General Practitioners and Registrars working in rural and remote communities in Queensland are invited to participate in this project by completing an anonymous survey.

Principles of the Framework
  1. Collaboration and coordination between primary and secondary care is vital.

  2. Rurally based career paths are recognised and valued.

  3. Fostering job satisfaction is a critical element.

  4. Doctors’ attainment of advanced skills is supported.

  5. Obtaining /maintaining /upgrading of procedural skills in public hospitals and general practice is supported and meets the community need.

  6. Ease of access to hospital and general practice facilities to provide co-ordinated care.

  7. Educational & professional peer support is valued and available.

  8. Enhancing the viability of existing rural general practices.

  9. Clinical leadership capability is recognised, enhanced, encouraged, and supported.

Results

Queensland Country Practice and Health Workforce Queensland have worked in partnership to establish a Post Fellowship Support Framework intended to support and sustain post-graduate rural doctors’ practice integration, as National Rural Generalists across primary and secondary service domains. The findings validated the 10 Guiding Principles and reflected four key themes considered important to incorporate into the Framework.

Read the Post Fellowship Support Framework document here​

Related Links

Advice to the Rural Health Commissioner on the Development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway – Dec 2018

Further Information

data@healthworkforce.com.au

qcp@health.qld.gov.au