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New era in Australian General Practice Education Training.

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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW59/00 27 June 2000

NEW ERA IN AUSTRALIAN GENERAL PRACTICE EDUCATION AND TRAINING The Federal Government is putting in place new arrangements for funding and delivery of General Practice vocational training, Health and Aged Care Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, told a group of rural doctors today.

Speaking in the ACT to more than 60 rural doctors from around the country, Dr Wooldridge said he was creating a new Board of General Practice Education and Training to oversee implementation of one of the Government's 'More Doctors, Better Services' Budget initiatives.

The recent Federal Budget allocated over $100 million for a dedicated rural training stream for general practice, including providing incentives for registrars who choose to train in rural and remote areas of Australia. An additional 50 rural vocational training places will be allocated each year over the next three years. This will mean that 200 training places will be reserved for a rural training stream, and 250 for a general training stream.

"The delivery of education and training for GPs will move towards to a regionalised approach over the next 18 months, which will be overseen by the new Board of General Practice Education and Training," Dr Wooldridge said.

"This is an exciting development for General Practice that draws together key stakeholders including Divisions of General Practice, new Clinical Schools being established by the Government in regional areas, and University Departments of Rural Health to improve general practice education and training," he said.

"To further enhance the delivery of general practice education and training the Government also will make funding for general practice education and training contestable by 2002," Dr Wooldridge said.

"Regionalising the delivery of training and making it more contestable will provide a range of key players with the opportunity to be involved in the development and delivery of vocational training," he said.

The Board will be established as soon as possible and will be broadly representative of key players involved in general practice education, which will include but not be limited to: the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Royal Australian College of General

Practitioners, Universities, Divisions of General Practice and consumers. An independent Chair will also be appointed.

Until a new training structure is implemented, training will continue to be delivered through the General Practice Registrar Training Program, which is funded for $22.35 million per annum. This will provide registrars that are currently in the system with some certainty in terms of the continuity of their training.

"The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners will continue to receive funding directly to deliver the Training Program for the remainder of 2000," Dr Wooldridge said. "In 2001, the funds will flow to the College via the Board," he said.

This is a staged approach to moving towards a more contestable training structure from 2002 where the Board will be responsible for purchasing services potentially from a range of providers.

Media Contact: Serena Williams, Office of Dr Michael Wooldridge, 0411 261 627

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©Commonwealth of Australia, 2000

Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 4 July 2000 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care URL: