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Rural generalist medicine

The Rural Generalist concept, as a career prospect for doctors trained in the specialty of general practice is now well established throughout Australia and is being formalised in role descriptions and industrial awards.

The College endorses the Cairns Consensus definition to describe this area of practice. This is being adopted increasingly by Australian and international jurisdictions. 

“We define Rural Generalist Medicine as the provision of a broad scope of medical care by a doctor in the rural context that encompasses the following:

  • Comprehensive primary care for individuals, families and communities
  • Hospital in-patient care and/or related secondary medical care in the institutional, home or ambulatory setting
  • Emergency care
  • Extended and evolving service in one or more areas of focused cognitive and/or procedural practice as required to sustain needed health services locally among a network of colleagues
  • A population health approach that is relevant to the community
  • Working as part of a multi-professional and multi-disciplinary team of colleagues, both local and distant, to provide services within a ‘system of care’ that is aligned and responsive to community needs.”

(World Summit on Rural Generalist Medicine, Cairns, 2014).

Seminal Reports

International Statement for Rural Medical Generalism: Cairns Consensus

The 'Rural Generalist' concept is internationally recognised and articulated in the Cairns Consensus 2014, an internal consensus statement endorsed by 23 national and international medical organisations. This statement was developed from the World Summit on Rural Generalist Medicine.

The Rural Way: documents ACRRM's vision for establishing a national, vertically integrated Rural Generalist training pathway.

Rural Generalists Research Paper: This is a systematic review of the expanding role of generalists in rural and remote health. The paper was a research collaboration between ACRRM and the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute of the Australian National University.

Rural Generalist programs

Rural Generalist training pathways to Vocational Registration are becoming established in jurisdictions across Australia:

Training for Fellowship of ACRRM (to become a Rural Generalist)

Fellowship of ACRRM (FACRRM) verifies that you have the skills, training, and registration necessary to work unsupervised in general practice anywhere in Australia. Advanced Specialised Training, a key component of the Primary Curriculum, equips you for secondary care in your chosen discipline. There are currently 11 on offer, including surgery, obstetrics, emergency medicine, and anaesthetics. For more information on these and the training program generally, please read the College's brochure.