Regional Health Training Hubs boost clinical training in regional Australia

8 May 2017

Health and medical students will have greater opportunities to live, study and work in rural and regional Australia as part of the Federal Coalition's Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program - another key initiative aimed at boosting Australia's regional and rural health workforce. 

The Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie recently announced the 26 Regional Health Training Hubs and 3 University Departments of Rural Health. Under the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program, $54.4million has been allocated over 2016-17 to 2018-19 for these two initiatives. 

The hubs will integrate health services, medical colleges and other training stakeholders to ­expand postgraduate vocational training opportunities and identify students who want to stay in the regions.

Medical School Doctor of Medicine and Surgery students Anna Habeck-Fardy and Elysia Goldie will begin their internships next year and are hoping to capitalise on the hubs and settle down in the country. Both women spent last year studying in the NSW town of Cowra, which helped ­confirm their aspirations to ­become rural GPs.

“It just makes sense to train where you would like to end up working. It’s well known there’s a shortage of doctors out in regional settings and it’s more likely we’ll end up working where we train,” said Ms Habeck-Fardy, from Kiama on the NSW South Coast.

Elysia, from Toowoomba, said she appreciated the culture and lifestyle in rural towns, which also provided broader professional ­experiences.

“The hubs streamline where I want to end up going. I’m not wasting time in a highly specialised area in a tertiary hospital, instead I can be put in a general practice learning my skills for a future ­career,” she said.

The Associate Dean of the Medical School's Rural Clinical School, Professor Amanda Barnard, said the hubs would offer a “much clearer, connected career path”.