Rural Workforce

The MASON REVIEW on rural workforce was released in the past few days and the Executive Summary at least is worth a read.

I think it’s generally on the money – a big emphasis on encouraging a rural generalist pathway, to de-emphasise costly specialist services in favour of effective primary care and to encourage more allied health (not least dentistry) for the bush.

There’s a also a promised review of the Rural Classification scheme for incentive payments – which is good – but likely a move towards funds held by either Rural workforce or Medicare Locals for distribution. concomitant with that will be less emphasis on incentives for doctors and more on incentives for other professional groups, which is fair comment.

Anyway have a look at the report yourself – click HERE TO OPEN


RDWA Conference – “what no hashtag?”


Meanwhile, I’ve just got back from the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency of SA annual conference, which was ‘interesting’ in that for the first time was held 6 months asynchronously from the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia AGM.

As a consequence it was poorly attended by rural doctors…but there was a positive feeding frenzy of students.

Initially I thought this was a good thing – until I realised that many were not medical students but nursing, speech path, midwifery & physiotherapy. There were a few CPD sessions, but I found that on the whole they were either too facile for rural doctors or irrelevant for the allied health students – maybe SMACC13 has spoiled me (no, not maybe – it HAS) but I would prefer to have short, engaging TEDx style presentations with messages, rather than an hour long session on suicide prevention or microbial resistance from people who are not actively involved in the bush. I’m all for shared learning – but the content in the lecture sessions was generally woeful.

Some bright sparks – Prof John Greenwood gave an entertaining talk on burns and Dr Gerry Considine spoke well on his pathway to rural medicine….I also caught up with a couple of the RDWA locums to talk about their experiences – you can listen to the podcast over at or click here for podcast

…but there is just so MUCH more that could be done, especially in this time of FOAMed.

Ironically Ken Milne of The Sceptics Guide to EM (with whom I podcasted the previous week) beamed in from Canada to extol the virtues of FOAMed – but poor broadband meant we had to cut video and listen to audio only.

Nevertheless Ken did a good job explaining how SoMe can reduce the ‘knowledge translation’ gap from the usual “years” to “immediate” – the essence of the FOAMed revolution….

The real irony is that the RDWASA conference had no hashtag or SoMe presence, despite Ken as a keynote promoting SoMe!

…and it’s not as if we don’t have local talent in Australia who can explain the benefits of SoMe and FOAMed to either recalcitrant rural dinosaurs or incoming new workforce of whatever ilk.


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My overall impression was “too much words, not enough action!”

I guess I am idealist, but to see tens of thousands of dollars pissed away by hosting a function at the Adelaide Convention Centre, a top notch dinner, band, nibbles etc as basically a PR exercise for the RDWA was surprising – and the dislocation of the medicopolitical RDASA from the Govt-funded RDWA was sad to see.

I don’t think I would recommend in the future – whereas events in Queensland and NSW continue to actively engage their doctors and deliver high quality CPD…and behind the scenes more & more doctors are engaging with SoMe and FOAMed to deliver “quality care, out there”


never thought I'd see Dr Tony on Twitter, but @theSGEM managed it - shame no official hashtag for RDWA conference
never thought I’d see Dr Tony on Twitter, but @theSGEM managed it – shame no official hashtag for RDWA conference

On that latter, word is that the RURAL DOCTORS MASTERCLASS for Kangaroo Island in November is well-subscribed. If successful we will move to different venues around the State, delivering high quality FOAMed to rural doctors using their equipment and staff.


I think that’s exciting!




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