Training doctors in remote communities for remote communities.

The Remote Vocational Training Scheme is a vocational training program for medical practitioners in remote and isolated communities throughout rural and remote Australia. The purpose of the program is to train doctors in remote communities for remote communities. The training provided meets the requirements for Fellowship of both ACRRM and RACGP.

The four-year program delivers structured distance education and supervision to doctors while they continue to provide general medical services to a remote and/or isolated community.

The goals of the program are:

  • To facilitate access to vocational training by all doctors across Australia
  • To contribute to the recruitment and retention of rural and remote doctors
  • To improve the quality of services available to remote communities by enabling access to vocational training and ensuring continuity of medical services

Our History

The Pilot Remote Vocational Training Stream (PRVTS) was established in late 1999. Its goal was to provide vocational training to general practitioners in remote areas, who would otherwise have difficulty accessing training.

Prior to 1999, doctors located in a rural or remote location where no supervision was available, had to leave their community to train for GP fellowship. Not surprisingly these towns were struggling to retain their doctors. The government of the day listened to the concerns of doctors and their communities and got to work on a solution. The Pilot Remote Vocational Training Stream (PRVTS) was born. Originally a joint training initiative of RACGP and ACRRM, just eleven registrars started their training in January 2000.

The PRVTS was an outstanding success and in 2003 the program was renamed the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS). In 2006 an independent company, Remote Vocational Training Scheme Ltd, was established to manage the program and deliver training. The then Department of Health and Ageing provided funds for RVTS Ltd to expand its training cohort to 15 registrars per year. In late 2007, the department announced a further expansion to 22 registrars per intake from 2011. This intake forms the basis of the program’s Remote Stream. An extension of the program occurred in 2014 to include an annual intake of 10 doctors working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).

The extension is supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). This intake forms the basis of the Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) Stream.

Since its inception, RVTS has delivered training to more than 500 doctors from more than 300 communities. The organisation is accredited as a training provider for the delivery of training toward the FRACGP/FARGP and FACRRM qualifications by RACGP and ACRRM respectively.

From its humble beginnings, the RVTS has become an integral part of General Practice and Rural Generalist training in Australia, helping communities retain their medical workforce through the provision of high-quality training. Now in its 26th year, the Remote Vocational Training Scheme continues to be recognised as an important component of the Australian Government’s rural healthcare strategy.

Our Memberships

Membership of Remote Vocational Training Scheme Ltd is organised into three classes:

  • Class A has one member, RACGP
  • Class B has one member, ACRRM
  • Class C membership is made up of current RVTS registrars and supervisors

Each class of member is entitled to appoint two directors to the RVTS board. Class C members can have considerable influence over the make-up of the board, appointing two of the six directors. All registrars and supervisors are encouraged to be involved.

Registrars and supervisors wishing to become Class C members must apply to the company by completing and submitting a Membership application form.

Support doctors to gain fellowship

RVTS is always interested to hear from experienced GPs from all over Australia who would like to inspire and support the next generation of GPs in rural locations, and also in Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations.

Supervisors

Each registrar has a supervisor appointed for the duration of their training. RVTS registrars usually work in rural, remote and First Nations communities. The supervisor generally does not work in the same location as the registrar. Contact with the registrar is typically provided via telephone, email or video conference.

An RVTS supervisor must have sufficient qualifications and experience to act as an appropriate supervisor or mentor. A supervisor must:

  • Be a registered medical practitioner with the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency
  • Be a Fellow of ACRRM or RACGP
  • Have experience in rural and remote general practice

Clinical Teaching Visitors

Clinical Teaching Visits (CTVs) are an essential part of the RVTS program and provide an opportunity to observe registrars working in their practices and seeing first-hand the relationships between the registrar, staff, patients, other health professionals and the community in general.

CTVs are particularly important for RVTS registrars who work in solo or isolated practices and cannot get direct feedback from practice colleagues.