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Health in regional, rural and remote Australia

Regional, rural and remote communities suffer from poor health outcomes and have less access to healthcare, compared to metropolitan cities. With 4.3 doctors per thousand people in cities, compared to just 2.7 doctors per thousand in rural and remote areas* (OECD Health Data 2018), Australia is graduating a significant number of doctors, but there is an imbalance the distribution of doctors, with more working in metropolitan areas than rural and remote communities.

Australia’s medical education and training at all levels is predominantly based in metropolitan areas, contributing to the higher proportion of doctors in those areas as they tend to stay working in cities.

FRAME is committed to improving rural medical education and the health outcomes of underserved communities. By training doctors in regional, rural and remote communities, they are more likely to go on to work in underserved communities. Doctors who train in underserved communities are equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience to work in those communities.

Research shows that the more time medical students spend on rural placements, the more likely they are to go onto a rural career^. There is also evidence that rural placements where students have a mix of immersion in both regional hospitals and rural general practice is more likely to lead to a higher rate of students going to work in rural communities^.

FRAME is committed to addressing the priority health needs of regional, rural and remote Australian communities. FRAME is a network of organisations and people who share a similar goal to support and improve rural medical education in Australia.

* OECD Health Data, 2018
^ O’Sullivan B, McGrail M, Russell D, Walker J, Chambers H, Major L, Langham R, 2018, “Duration and setting of rural immersion during medical degree relates to rural work outcomes”, Medical Education, Volume 52 (Issue 8), 2018