AMA calls for regional medical training networks

A NATIONAL system of "regional training networks" is essential to address the shortfall of medical workers in rural and remote Australia, the Australian Medical Association has urged.

The AMA today called on "all Australian governments" to work together on the new networks, to address the "skewed distribution of doctors" towards major cities.

AMA president Dr Brian Owler said one of the most effective ways to address the shortages in rural Australia was to deliver more training.

"If doctors have a good training experience in a rural area, they are more likely to stay," he said.

"The AMA is promoting the establishment of regional training networks to bolster rural training opportunities, and to provide a valuable and meaningful career pathway for junior doctors who want to work in regional and rural Australia.

"Our plan would see the development of models for regionally based specialist medical training that meets the needs of regional and rural communities."

The networks, an AMA position paper argued, would help give more young doctors rural and regional experience during training.

Dr Owler said almost a quarter of all medical students in Australia had a "rural background", but an "effective training pathway" was needed to ensure they were distributed more equally across the country.