Extra doctor for Walcha thanks to remote doctor training program

Media Release

A unique national GP training program that enables doctors to gain their specialist qualification in General Practice – while living and working as a doctor in a rural or remote community – will benefit dozens of communities across Australia in 2021, including Walcha in the New England region of NSW.

Dr Alison Jones is among 32 doctors who will be training with the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) this year.

Funded by the Australian Government, RVTS delivers General Practice and Rural Generalist training for medical practitioners in First Nations, rural and remote communities throughout Australia.

Dr Jones is working at the Walcha General Practice Clinic, while continuing her training under RVTS’s Remote Stream.

“The beauty of the RVTS model is that our doctors don’t need to leave their communities to undertake their training” RVTS CEO, Dr Pat Giddings, said.

“This means they can continue to provide the essential, quality local medical care that their communities need, while still completing their specialist training and gaining access to the latest advances in rural General Practice.

“It really is a win-win situation for the doctors and their communities.”

RVTS has been training doctors for over 20 years, and in that time has supported more than 400 doctors who have delivered primary health care in over 300 rural, remote and First Nations communities.

Under the RVTS training model, doctors access the latest evidence-based learning via intensive workshops, online training, webinars, and regular interaction with experts in the field.

Dr Jones said the benefits of working and training as a doctor under the RVTS training model were significant.

“Trying to get my specialist GP qualifications was very difficult before I joined RVTS” she said. “I was travelling hours to get to and from my work as a doctor and distant training workshops.

“I am so grateful to now be on a program that will support me to stay in the Walcha community, closer to friends and family. I plan to stay long-term. With such a significant shortage of doctors in rural areas, I believe the RVTS remote training model is crucial in helping improve rural doctor recruitment and retention rates.”


RVTS is fully funded by the Australian Government.

Further information is available at www.rvts.org.au