30 September 2011
Australian Medical Council confirms ACRRM's specialist college status
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the first medical college in the world dedicated to rural and remote practice, has been confirmed as one of the nation's specialist colleges.
The Australian Medical Council renewed the College's accreditation, reaffirming its role in setting and maintaining standards for the specialty of general practice, especially in rural and remote practice.
The AMC President, Richard Smallwood AO, in a letter to ACRRM President, Dr Jeff Ayton, congratulated the College on what he termed 'this milestone'.
ACRRM is the youngest specialist college in Australia, established in 1997 and initially accredited by the AMC in 2007.
Welcoming the AMC announcement, Dr Ayton said that it provided unequivocal and long-awaited recognition of the calibre of ACRRM's education and training programs.
"The College was established by experienced and dedicated rural doctors who understood that the demands on them were far more complex, with an expanded scope of practice, than on office-based doctors in larger population centres," Dr Ayton said.
He said the report acknowledged the 'major health care needs' of rural and remote Australians, and the support for ACRRM as the professional body for rural and remote medical practitioners.
Dr Ayton said the areas identified for improvement by internationally-recognised members of the AMC's accreditation team are in line with ACRRM's strategic plan.
"What I think is most gratifying to members are in the areas commended by the AMC Team," Dr Ayton said. "It formally recognises that the College is well governed, and it lauds the College's support for flexible training arrangements, its innovative development of online learning and assessment, and its professional development program."
Dr Ayton said that the AMC's confirmation of ACRRM's status validates ACRRM as the peak professional body for rural and remote medical practitioners currently practicing or entering general practice training pathways.
"The Fellowship of ACRRM award is the only single accredited qualification that adequately equips doctors to work independently in rural, remote, regional, and metropolitan locations," Dr Ayton explained. "It organically incorporates general practice with advanced skills in disciplines such as surgery, anaesthetics, obstetrics, Indigenous health, population health, remote medicine and emergency medicine."
The reaffirmation of ACRRM's status as a specialist college also opens the way to reciprocal arrangements in international jurisdictions.
"We are at an advanced stage in our discussions with colleges and medical bodies in Europe, North America, and Africa about mutual recognition of the fellowship-level qualification," said Dr Ayton.
"Reciprocal recognition further enhances the portability of the Fellowship of ACRRM, giving Fellows entree to a very broad range of practise opportunities throughout Australia, and internationally."
Dr Ayton said that it was the ACRRM approach to ensuring doctors had a 'kit of skills' relevant to rural and remote practice which gave rise to the rural generalist model. The model, trialled in Queensland, is now being adopted or adapted for Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australia.
"This accreditation by the AMC further underpins the appropriateness of the ACRRM curriculum, training, and standards for rural generalist practice nationally.
"It is now clear ACRRM is the appropriate choice, appropriate standards and pathway for the current, and importantly, the next generation of generalist doctors wishing to work in rural and remote Australia.
Read the AMC Report: Executive Summary
Read the AMC's media release on ACRRM accreditation