29 September 2021

Colleges collaborate to develop new rural GP anaesthesia qualification

Rural GPs in Australia will be able to access a new rural generalist anaesthesia qualification from 2023 in a collaboration between the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP).

The three medical colleges have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish the one year diploma of rural generalist anaesthesia (DRGA) as part of their ongoing commitment to contemporary, high quality education standards and the health and safety of patients in rural and remote Australia.

The diploma recognises the critical role GPs with advanced training in anaesthesia play in many rural and remote communities where it may not be possible to have specialist anaesthetists.
It will provide training to produce rural generalist anaesthesia graduates who can deliver safe anaesthesia and perioperative care in rural and remote settings for some elective and emergency surgery − including obstetric and paediatric procedures − and the resuscitation and stabilisation of patients for transfer when required.
ANZCA is leading the development of the diploma which will replace the current qualification that is overseen by the three colleges under the guidance of the Joint Consultative Committee on Anaesthesia (JCCA). The colleges have been working towards the development of the diploma for a number of years and significant work on the curriculum to ensure the highest professional standards has already been completed by a working group of college experts.
The Diploma for Rural Generalist Anaesthesia will be available to rural generalist registrars seeking formal training and certification in anaesthesia who are enrolled in the fellowship of the ACRRM training program and/or the RACGP fellowship of advanced rural general practice training program.
Anaesthetist, Associate Professor Deborah Wilson, Acting Chair of the Tripartite Committee of Rural Generalist Anaesthesia, said:
“We look forward to our first intake of trainees in 2023 and improving access to safe and high quality anaesthesia services for Australians living in our rural communities.”
ANZCA is responsible for the clinical standards in the diploma curriculum, while ACRRM and RACGP are responsible for standards and requirements for their respective rural generalist fellowship programs. The colleges will continue to work together acknowledging the very different landscapes across Australia for safe anaesthetic delivery.

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