Maternity Funds Increase a Welcome Bonus for Rural GPsMonday, February 7. 2011
The RACGP has reported:
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has welcomed a recent government-funded increase in maternity training for rural and remote GPs.
The funding will assist GP training in obstetric services and is offered through subsidies to GPs who qualify for the program. The funding boost is in response to the government’s Maternity Services Review report, which found there was a need to improve the choices available to pregnant women, including better access to high quality maternity services and more support for the maternity services workforce. This is particularly needed in rural and remote Australia.
RACGP National Rural Faculty Chair Dr Kathryn Kirkpatrick said that the College was pleased that the government was supporting rural and remote GPs through this initiative.
“The funding will mean that many rural GPs will be able to increase the level of services they are able to offer to their local communities, and this will ultimately have benefits for the health and well-being of many rural and remote patients.
“GPs provide comprehensive care in the general practice setting to patients in rural and remote Australia and it is crucial that rural and remote GPs are able to maintain and build upon their skills while living and working in these communities. Receiving assistance to train in areas such as obstetrics will have a positive impact for rural and remote communities, especially in the face of rural hospital closures,” she said.
Dr Kirkpatrick said that the new funding will enable more GPs to access RACGP’s Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice in Obstetrics - FARGP (Obs) - which certifies GPs to deliver unsupervised general practice obstetric services anywhere in Australia.
“The FARGP offers GPs with an interest in rural and procedural practice the opportunity for recognition of their advanced rural skills. An important component of the FARGP is advanced rural skills training in an area of interest, such as obstetrics. We hope that the government funding in this area will be of assistance to GPs who are completing or who are thinking of undertaking the FARGP,” she said.
The new funding will also complement the Rural Procedural Grants Program which supports rural GP Obstetricians in maintaining their procedural skills once these have been acquired.
The College looks forward to the implementation of other training initiatives highlighted in the Maternity Services Review and is committed to working with the government and other key stakeholders to address disincentives to high quality, GP obstetrician care for Australian communities, such as access to rural birthing suites and the ongoing high cost of indemnity cover.
GPs can find more information and apply for funding by visiting www.ranzcog.edu.au/gpdiploma/gpptsp.shtml