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Reporting rural workforce outcomes of rural-based postgraduate vocational training

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To the Editor: Following calls to bridge the evidence gap regarding rural exposure and uptake into rural medical practice,1 Rural Clinical Schools (RCS) regularly report graduate rural career outcomes. This permits comparison of approaches and quality improvement of the program.

Comparatively little is reported from the postgraduate rural-based vocational training programs. Just as the evidence gap for RCS required bridging, a similar approach should be adopted as standing key performance outcome indicators of regional training providers.

Ministerial review of general practice training previously identified a chronic undersupply of rural doctors as a “pressing concern” for government.2 Rural vocational training needs were determined as a priority in establishing the regionalised Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program in 2002. The program requires 50% of vocational training to be conducted in rural areas to improve distribution of general practitioners into rural and regional areas.3 Yet, unlike RCS, in the AGPT program, training providers are not required to routinely report their rural workforce outcomes.

Two key performance outcome indicators are proposed: rural retention rate (RRR) and advanced rural skills proportion (ARSP). RRR reflects the number of registrars…