A program at the forefront of efforts in Western Australia to improve training pathways to general practice and importantly, to rural general practice, has secured State Government funding for another year.
Health Minister Kim Hames today announced that funding had been approved for the Community Residency Program, which would enable 60 or more resident medical officers to undertake community placements in 2015-16.
“It’s important for junior doctors to have some form of exposure to general practice before making a career choice and through these placements they are given hands-on experience in a range of areas including primary care and Aboriginal health,” Dr Hames said.
The Minister said the Community Residency Program was a significant training initiative and instrumental in promoting medical careers that serviced areas outside the metropolitan zone.
“While the Perth metropolitan area is reasonably well served with medical practitioners, there are shortages in the outer metropolitan area and a significant shortage of country doctors across Western Australia,” he said.
“In WA, many of the doctors who took part in the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program went on to train in rural practice, Aboriginal health or as a GP, so there’s very real value in finding the money to enable a program of this type to continue.”
Dr Hames said last year, the State Government provided $4.2 million to keep the program running and this year the program was likely to receive about the same, depending on tenders.
“The tender preparation process has commenced for service providers, so I’m happy this is all in train,” he said.
“Our aim is to get the best value for our health dollar as well as the best possible training for our junior doctors,” he said.
“We believe this funding will deliver significant value and enable the residency program to integrate with WA’s wider GP medical education and training initiatives, with a focus on workforce and community needs relevant to the local environment.”