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JCU researchers looking at innovative ways to solve the GP shortage in the bush

1st November 2017

Researchers from James Cook University’s (JCU) College of Medicine and Dentistry have been awarded $150,000 to investigate how best to address the GP shortage in the bush.

“For decades, rural and remote regions across north and western Queensland have struggled to attract and retain specialist GPs,” said Professor Tarun Sen Gupta, Director of Medical Education at JCU.

“James Cook University is working to address the crisis through its specialist GP training program to build a rural, regional and remote health workforce for the most underserved regions across the state,” Professor Sen Gupta said.

The JCU team is working in partnership with researchers from the Monash University School of Rural Health.

The funding will enable the research team to determine where the GP shortage is greatest, and how best to ensure specialist GP training places can be established to meet the demand.

They’ll also identify innovative training and supervision models to increase the delivery of high quality GP registrar training in underserved communities.

“We aim to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with developing and strengthening the provision of high quality training in areas of greatest need, and to increase rural workforce recruitment and retention,” said lead researcher, Associate Professor Carole Reeve from JCU’s specialist GP training program, GMT.

“Results from the study will assist JCU’s Generalist Medical Training (GMT) program to work with communities and practices to strengthen health care in underserved north and west Queensland communities,” Associate Professor Carole Reeve said.

Professor Sen Gupta said there’s strong evidence that JCU graduates are practicing in regional and rural locations in a very different pattern of distribution to that of other medical schools.

“JCU’s GMT program has enhanced this by training registrars in rural and remote locations, where many remain after completing training,” Professor Sen Gupta said.

“This study will help better understand where the need is greatest, and how we can recruit graduates to train and work in the most underserved communities.”

About GMT

Generalist Medical Training (GMT) is James Cook University’s (JCU) specialist training program within the College of Medicine and Dentistry. This program has been contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health to deliver Australian General Practice training (AGPT) in North Western Queensland. The AGPT program is a vocational training program for medical graduates (registrars) who are pursuing a career in the specialty of General Practice.

Further Information 

Professor Tarun Sen Gupta, Director of Medical Education, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry
tarun.sengupta@jcu.edu.au

Eleanor Gregory, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry Communications Coordinator
eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au
0418 655 994

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