The Pilot Remote Vocational Training Stream (PRVTS) was established in late 1999. Its goal was to provide vocational training to general practitioners in remote areas, who would otherwise have difficulty accessing training.
Prior to 1999, doctors located in a rural or remote location where no supervision was available, had to leave their community to train for GP fellowship. Not surprisingly these towns were struggling to retain their doctors. The government of the day listened to the concerns of doctors and their communities and got to work on a solution. The Pilot Remote Vocational Training Stream (PRVTS) was born. Originally a joint training initiative of RACGP and ACRRM, just eleven registrars started their training in January 2000.
The PRVTS was an outstanding success and in 2003 the program was renamed the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS). In 2006 an independent company, Remote Vocational Training Scheme Ltd, was established to manage the program and deliver training. The then Department of Health and Ageing provided funds for RVTS Ltd to expand its training cohort to 15 registrars per year. In late 2007, the department announced a further expansion to 22 registrars per intake from 2011. This intake forms the basis of the program's Remote Stream.
An extension of the program occurred in 2014 to include an annual intake of 10 doctors working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). The extension is supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). This intake forms the basis of the program's Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) Stream.
Since its inception, RVTS has delivered training to more than 400 doctors from more than 300 communities. The organisation is accredited as a training provider for the delivery of training toward the FRACGP/FARGP and FACRRM qualifications by RACGP and ACRRM respectively.
From its humble beginnings, the RVTS has become an integral part of General Practice and Rural Generalist training in Australia, helping communities retain their medical workforce through the provision of high-quality training.
Now in its 22nd year, the Remote Vocational Training Scheme continues to be recognised as an important component of the Australian Government's rural healthcare strategy.