ACRRM is the professional home of Rural Generalist Medicine and the ACRRM Fellowship (FACRRM) is designed to describe the professional standards for excellence in Rural Generalist practice. The College is committed to building a thriving workforce of Rural Generalists across rural and remote Australia. These specialist general practitioners are trained to bring a broad set of advanced skilled services to people living rural and remote communities.
What is RG Medicine?
Learn about what a Rural Generalist does and how these doctors’ are vital to ensuring rural and remote communities can access the scope of services they need, delivered to the highest standards of care.
As part of the RG Recognition Taskforce, ACRRM is progressing a joint application for the recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine as a specialist field within general practice and protected title for Rural Generalists (RGs)
A rural generalist is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future healthcare needs of Australian rural and remote communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice
and emergency care and required components of other medical specialty care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team.
Rural Generalist Medicine is a specific approach to general practice that is particularly relevant to rural and remote communities.
The Rural Generalist Medicine body of skills incorporates the skillset of general practice and is specifically shaped
to optimise medical service capacity in rural and remote clinical contexts.
As rural and remote settings are characterized by their restricted access to the range of services, staff and resources available in urban centers, RGs are skilled to perform a broad range of medical services, including some skills, ordinarily the province
of other specialties. They are trained to apply these services in an effective way given a relatively low resource base, including working in local healthcare teams and providing local medical leadership in managing patient support from specialists
and resources based in urban centers.
Rural generalist practitioners are thus a key component of the multi-professional teams that together can deliver highest quality care in rural and remote communities, which may include other rural GPs, other medical specialists, nurses, Indigenous health
workers and allied health practitioners.
The successful application to have Rural Generalist Medicine recognised as a specialised field within general practice would result in doctors with appropriate rural generalist qualifications, having these indicated in their Ahpra registration within
the discipline of general practice.
It is hoped this national formalization of their qualification status will:
enable health service quality and safety and employment systems to consistently recognise and understand these doctors’ capacity and appropriately utilize their skills
simplify the processes for training, employment and hospital credentialing for RG doctors (which are currently complex and onerous due to lack of coordination)
enable rural patients to better understand the training and capacity of their doctors
provide a mechanism for RGs and their skillsets to be counted in rural workforce and resource planning
make it easier to promote rural careers as RGs to the next generation
An application for national recognition of Rural generalist Medicine as a specialist field within the specialty of general practice must be submitted to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) for consideration.
Stage 1 initial assessment of proposal
A proposal is submitted to the MBA, describing the objectives of the proposal in broad terms. The Board seeks the AMC’s advice and based on this advice will determine whether the application is eligible to proceed to a stage 2 assessment.
Stage 2 detailed assessment of proposal (application)
During this stage, the AMC assesses the detailed case for recognition of a new field of specialty practice on behalf of the MBA.
This stage is a rigorous assessment of the case that includes a public consultation process and results in a recommendation being made to the Council of Australian Government (COAG) for final approval which is projected to take around 18 months.
This process may also involve an assessment of the proposal by the Commonwealth Government’s Office of Best Practice Regulation.
The Rural Generalist Recognition Taskforce was established in June 2019 to oversee the application process. It comprises the National Rural Health Commissioner as chair and the chief executives, and senior representatives of both general practice colleges
including the President of ACRRM and the RACGP Rural Council Chair.
Further information can be found on these issues at:
Rural generalists (RGs) are trained to deliver the fullest scope of services they safely can in a rural or remote clinical context either independently or as part of a healthcare team. For people who live in places isolated from city-based resources this
scope is critical to providing them with safe, high-quality care. Many of these services are especially important to patients without the social, physical or financial capacity to travel to cities for care, such as the socio-economically disadvantaged,
the aged or people with disabilities. RGs are trained to provide continuing, primary care, as well as care in emergencies, hospital-based care and care in other medical specialist areas such as obstetrics, anaesthetics or mental health. They are also
trained in telehealth, retrieval and other systems for working effectively with city-based specialists and specialised services.
Yes, the term ‘rural’ is intended to reflect the nature of ‘rural generalist’ training which requires these practitioners to attain skills reflecting the needs of both rural and remote clinical contexts.
Should the Medical Board of Australia confer recognition on Rural Generalist Medicine as a specialist field within general practice, rural generalist’s qualifications would continue to be registered as a General Practice (GP) qualification
and as such they would be eligible to practice as Vocationally Registered (VR) General Practitioners and to provide services billable under the MBS.
The general practice colleges have different models for delivering rural generalist training.
The ACRRM Fellowship qualification (FACRRM) is AMC accredited as a general practice qualification and is designed to reflect attainment of the requisite professional standards for the practice of Rural Generalist Medicine.
The RACGP currently provides a secondary qualification of Fellowship of Advanced Rural Skills (FARGP) which combined with the AMC accredited RACGP Fellowship (FRACGP) is designed to reflect the scope of practice for quality Rural Generalist Medicine.
The College is currently developing a Fellowship (FRACGP-RG) which would be standalone Rural Generalist Medicine qualification.
The two general practice colleges, ACRRM and RACGP, currently provide the training, continuing Professional Development and Fellowship qualifications which the Medical Board of Australia recognises for Vocational Registration purposes for specialist
general practitioners. As Rural Generalist Medicine if recognised would be a specialist field within general practice, these existing arrangements would be extended to also apply to the new field.
This is the name the Commonwealth Department of Health have given to their commitment to constructing a national framework to support doctors to train, qualify and practice as rural generalist practitioners in a way that is structured and consistent and
which enables portability across health services and jurisdictions.
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) welcome the Medical Board of Australia’s (MBA) decision to progress to Stage Two application for the recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine as a specialist field within general practice.
Minister for Regional Health the Hon Mark Coulton today announced the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) will deliver Australia’s first government-funded specialist Rural Generalist (RG) training program.
Providing mental health care in their communities is a valued and important role Rural Generalists (RGs) play throughout Australia’s most isolated communities. In recognition of World Mental Health Day (10 October 2019), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) President Dr Ewen McPhee says RGs are in a good position to provide mental health education and deliver primary and preventative care.