Sports injuries

January/February 2010

Where are they now?

The career paths of the Remote Vocational Training Scheme registrars

Volume 39, No.1, January/February 2010 Pages 53-56

Susan M Wearne

Patrick Giddings

Jeanette McLaren

Catherine Gargan


The Remote Vocational Training Scheme trains doctors in remote communities using distance education and supervision.


To document the training location, outcomes of training, current location and services provided by program graduates and assess the effectiveness of their training.


Twenty-four doctors graduated from the Remote Vocational Training Scheme program. Registrars provided over 44 years of clinical service in very remote areas during training. Of those working in Australia, 17 out of 21 (81%) still work in rural areas and 20 (95%) gained dual qualification of Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and Fellowship of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Registrars evaluated the program as effective preparation for clinical practice.


The first medical specialist training program in Australia and comparable western countries to use remote supervision achieved its targets of increasing retention of the rural and remote workforce during and after training.

Australians in rural and remote areas have higher rates of morbidity and mortality and lower access to health care than their urban counterparts. Rural and remote health professionals are required to deliver complex care,1,2 but turnover is high.3 Considerable welcome investment is being made to redress this workforce imbalance with initiatives aimed at increasing the number of doctors skilled and willing to work in rural and remote areas postqualification.3–5

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