Building general practice training capacity in rural and remote Australia with underserved primary care services: a qualitative investigation

Article


Young, Louise, Peel, Raquel, O'Sullivan, Belinda and Reeve, Carole. 2019. "Building general practice training capacity in rural and remote Australia with underserved primary care services: a qualitative investigation." BMC Health Services Research. 19, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4078-1
Article Title

Building general practice training capacity in rural and remote Australia with underserved primary care services: a qualitative investigation

ERA Journal ID13444
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsYoung, Louise (Author), Peel, Raquel (Author), O'Sullivan, Belinda (Author) and Reeve, Carole (Author)
Journal TitleBMC Health Services Research
Journal Citation19, pp. 1-10
Article Number338
Number of Pages10
Year2019
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd.
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1472-6963
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4078-1
Web Address (URL)https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-019-4078-1
Abstract

Background
Australians living in rural and remote areas have access to considerably fewer doctors compared with populations in major cities. Despite plentiful, descriptive data about what attracts and retains doctors to rural practice, more evidence is needed which informs actions to address these issues, particularly in remote areas. This study aimed to explore the factors influencing General Practitioners (GPs), primary care doctors, and those training to become GPs (registrars) to work and train in remote underserved towns to inform the building of primary care training capacity in areas needing more primary care services (and GP training opportunities) to support their population’s health needs.

Methods
A qualitative approach was adopted involving a series of 39 semi-structured interviews of a purposeful sample of 14 registrars, 12 supervisors, and 13 practice managers. Fifteen Australian Medical Graduates (AMG) and eleven International Medical Graduates (IMG), who did their basic medical training in another country, were among the interviewees. Data underwent thematic analysis.

Results
Four main themes were identified including 1) supervised learning in underserved communities, 2) impact of working in small, remote contexts, 3) work-life balance, and 4) fostering sustainable remote practice. Overall, the findings suggested that remote GP training provides extensive and safe registrar learning opportunities and supervision is generally of high quality. Supervisors also expressed a desire for more upskilling and professional development to support their retention in the community as they reach mid-career. Registrars enjoyed the challenge of remote medical practice with opportunities to work at the top of their scope of practice with excellent clinical role models, and in a setting where they can make a difference. Remote underserved communities contribute to attracting and retaining their GP workforce by integrating registrars and supervisors into the local community and ensuring sustainable work-life practice models for their doctors.

Conclusions
This study provides important new evidence to support development of high-quality GP training and supervision in remote contexts where there is a need for more GPs to provide primary care services for the population.

Keywordsgeneral practice training; family physician training; primary care services; rural health; remote undeserved communities; medical workforce shortage; health care equity; qualitative research; thematic analysis
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020429999. Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsJames Cook University
Monash University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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