Continuity of medical care, especially amidst the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic, is vital for positive health outcomes across Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities benefit from the Australian Government funded Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), a training program that enables doctors to enhance their skills and expertise in general practice while remaining in their community.
“By training and supporting doctors where they are most needed, RVTS plays a critical role in enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities to attract and retain their health care professionals and clinicians. Doctors can continue to deliver holistic, culturally safe and comprehensive health care to their communities,” says RVTS CEO and Director of Training, Dr Pat Giddings.
“In practical terms, the doctors who train with us gain access to the latest advances in rural general practice without having to leave their patients and move to another centre. This is especially important in enabling continuity of medical services and patient care in these challenging times,” he said.
Currently fifteen doctors across the country who deliver primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS), are receiving training and support from RVTS.
“RVTS is also working closely with 7 AMS health agencies across Australia to offer exciting opportunities for GP training and employment in harder to fill locations such as: Katherine and Tennant Creek (NT); Badu Island, Mt Isa and St George (QLD); Dareton (NSW); and Halls Creek (WA),” Dr Giddings said.
Of an annual intake of 32 training positions RVTS offers 10 positions in its AMS training stream. Recruitment for the 2021 intake is currently underway with the second application round opening on Monday 31 August to Sunday 13 September 2020.
The RVTS training model allows doctors to access the latest evidence-based learning via intensive workshops, online training, teleconferences, regular interaction with experts in the field and practical skills workshops.
“RVTS has specialised in general practice training for more than 20 years and in that time, has trained 350 doctors who have delivered primary health care in over 270 rural and remote communities and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services,” said Dr Giddings.
“Importantly, a stable health workforce provides more certainty for communities and enables patients to build the long term relationship with their doctor that is so important in the delivery of quality health care,” he said.
“Our model of training means that everyone benefits – the doctors enhance their knowledge and skills, while Aboriginal communities get to keep the doctors they so desperately need,” said Dr Giddings.