The development of pathways for rural doctors is the top priority for Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner.
Federal Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie announced Emeritus Professor Paul Worley’s appointment as National Rural Health Commissioner at the Rural Medicine Australia Conference on October 21.
Professor Worley’s first priority will be to develop National Rural Generalist Pathways to provide training, recognition and appropriate remuneration for the complex demands on doctors working outside major cities.
The pathways will aim to address the shortage of doctors in the bush.
Australia's first National Rural Health Commissioner Emeritus Professor Paul Worley with Federal Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie.
Doctors working as rural generalists have advanced training in areas such as anaesthetics and general surgery.
“While developing pathways for rural doctors is a top priority, the Commissioner will also consider the needs of the nursing, dental health, pharmacy, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery, occupational therapy, physical therapy and allied health workforce in rural areas,” Dr Gillespie said.
Dr Gillespie said Professor Worley would be a determined, effective and passionate advocate for strengthening rural health outcomes across Australia.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with him to progress regional and rural health reform,” Dr Gillespie said.
He said the federal government was dedicated to improving access to health services for everyone who called regional, rural and remote Australia home.
“The appointment of our National Rural Health Commissioner is integral to achieving this outcome,” Dr Gillespie said.
Professor Worley has had a distinguished career in rural health, both as a practitioner and an academic.
As the Commissioner, Professor Worley will consult with a wide range of health professionals and stakeholders to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has strongly welcomed the appointment and commended the federal government on its continuing commitment in making the role a reality.