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Regional Medical Specialists Association

RMSA supports the National Medical Workforce Strategy 2021-2031

Click here to visit the publication at the Australian Government website.


Australia has not been able to sustain a medical workforce which was distributed in the same proportions as the Australian population.

Around seven million people, or 29% of Australias population, live in rural and remote areas.


Yet the distribution of medical graduates is vastly different[1]:

Quotes from the National Medical Workforce Strategy, endorsed by Australian Health Ministers in December 2021:

The medical workforce has a profound impact on the quality, accessibility, effectiveness and sustainability of the health system. However, inequality of access to health services remains a key issue for Australian communities. To achieve maximum benefit to the community, the medical workforce must be geographically well distributed and have the appropriate mix of medical specialties in each location.

Investment in metropolitan tertiary centres provides high-quality services but has created metro-centric training systems… During consultations on the Strategy, selection of trainees was criticised for its focus on academic skills rather than the broad range of skills needed for the specific specialty.

The National Medical Workforce Strategy notes the way this has discouraged medical specialist training in non-Metropolitan centres and proposed a broad suite of measures aimed at correcting this:

The intent is to increase training opportunities in rural locations that support trainees to complete the majority of their training in a rural location… As regional and rural registrars, they should have preferential access and support for any training required in metropolitan hospitals. This enables doctors to settle in a community when they are typically forming partnerships, building a family and a home.

A number of specialist medical colleges are developing pathways to provide more rural training. One example of this is the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Rural Committee and its development of a Rural Health Equity Strategic Action Plan, which outlines its rural health strategies Represent for Rural, Select for Rural, Train for Rural, Retain for Rural and Collaborate for Rural.

The Regional Training Hubs are designed to facilitate this ‘end-to-end’ approach.  They are based in Universities with substantial rural campuses and clinical schools.  Their aim is to work across the continuum of medical training to help Universities, State Health Departments and specialist training colleges to build the resources and support systems to:

  • Recruit more students from rural/regional areas into medical schools;
  • Establish more medical school places in rural/regional locations;
  • Have more internship and junior doctor training based in rural/regional locations, and
  • Establish post-graduate specialist (including Rural Generalist) training programs which are predominantly based in non-Metropolitan centres.

The current Regional Training Hubs are:

UniversityStateRural clinical school (RCS)University department of rural health (UDRH)Regional training hub (RTH)Dental training site
Australian National UniversityACTANU RCS South East NSW RTH 
Charles Sturt UniversityNSW Three Rivers UDRH  
Curtin UniversityWACurtin Medical School Rural Health Campus RCS of Western Australia (partnership with the University of Western Australia)   
Deakin UniversityVicDeakin Rural Clinical SchoolDeakin Rural HealthWestern Victoria RTH 
Flinders UniversityNT, SANT Medical Program Rural and Remote Health SARemote Interprofessional Placement Learning NT Centre for Remote Health NTNorthern Territory RTH Limestone Coast/Riverland RTH 
Griffith UniversityQldGriffith RCS  Griffith dental training site
James Cook UniversityQldJames Cook University RCSMount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote HealthNorth Queensland RTH 
La Trobe UniversityVic La Trobe Rural Health School  
Monash UniversityVicMonash University RCSMonash School of Rural HealthGippsland and North West Victoria RTH 
The University of AdelaideSaAdelaide RCS Eyre Peninsula and Spencer Gulf RTHAdelaide Dental School
The University of MelbourneVicThe University of Melbourne Rural Clinic SchoolsUniversity of Melbourne Department of Rural HealthGoulburn Valley RTHUniversity of Melbourne Dental School
The University of NewcastleNSWPeel, Manning and Tablelands RCSUniversity of Newcastle Department of Rural HealthNorth West NSW RTH 
The University of Notre Dame AustraliaNSW, Vic, WALithgow, Ballarat and Wagga Wagga clinical schools RCS of Western Australia (partnership with the University of Western Australia)Majarlin Kimberley UDRHRiverina RTH 
The University of QueenslandQldUQ RCSSouthern Queensland Rural HealthUQ Regional Training HubsUQ Rural Dental Clinics
The University of SydneyNSWUniversity of Sydney School of Rural HealthUniversity Centre for Rural Health Broken Hill University Department of Rural HealthWestern NSW Far West NSW Northern NSW RTHUniversity of Sydney School of Dentistry
The University of Western AustraliaWARCS of Western AustraliaWestern Australian Centre for Rural HealthUWA Rural Training HubsUWA Dental School
University of New South WalesNSWUniversity of New South Wales Rural Clinic School UNSW Medicine Regional Training Hubs 
University of South AustraliaSA UniSA Department of Rural Health  
University of TasmaniaTasUniversity of Tasmania Rural Clinical SchoolUniversity of Tasmania Centre for Rural HealthTasmanian RTH 
University of WollongongNSWUniversity of Wollongong School of Medicine Clarence Valley RTH  (shared with University of Sydney) 
Western Sydney UniversityNSWWestern Sydney University Rural Clinical Schools   

The RMSA supports this policy and is eager to work with all parties including the Regional Training Hubs to achieve the aim of steady but sustained re-alignment of the Australian Medical workforce to the distribution and make-up of the Australian people.


1MM refers to the Modified Monash Model.  The Modified Monash Model (MM) defines whether a location is a city, rural, remote or very remote. The model measures remoteness and population size on a scale of MM category MM 1 to MM 7, with M1 being major metropolitan areas and M7 very remote communities (eg Longreach, Coober Pedy)


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