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The AGPT Rural Pathway

AGPT Rural Pathway (featured image)

The rural pathway will set you up for a career in rural general practice and give you the opportunity to develop a specialised skillset through specialised training.

If you choose to train with GPTQ via the rural pathway you will be living and working in close knit communities like Goondiwindi, Warwick, Kingaroy, and Stanthorpe, where you will be mentored by established rural GPs who know and love rural medicine.

Regional, rural and remote locations often have a high demand for GPs and for this reason the Australian Government actively encourages registrars to pursue the rural pathway by offering built-in financial incentives.

The training you receive with us will equip you with the skills and education to practise anywhere in Australia.

“One of the best things about working rurally is you can get a fuller picture of the patient. You don’t just see someone for 10 or 15 minutes, and then never see them again. You know who is related to whom and how they fit in the community. It really helps knowing all the influences that may be contributing to their state of health.”

Dr Kathy Kirkpatrick, GPTQ Medical Educator

Training locations

Registrars on the rural pathway must spend their community-based training time in a rural or remote location. The Federal Government defines rural and remote locations using the Modified Monash Model (MMM), which was developed to measure community remoteness and population size. On a scale of MM1 to MM7, MM1 is a major city and MM7 is a very remote community.

Areas classified MM 2 to MM 7 are rural or remote, so on the rural pathway you can train anywhere, except for a major city—from a regional town or coastal area to the remote outback.

GPTQ’s MM2-MM7 training footprint takes in a broad range of rural placements, most of which are found in the Darling Downs and West Moreton district.

Specialised training

For registrars on the rural pathway, regardless of which college you choose to pursue your rural GP fellowship with, there is a requirement that you undertake some specialised training. The aim of this training is to expand your skills and knowledge in a specialty discipline—whether it be obstetrics and gynaecology, anaesthetics, emergency medicine, Indigenous Health, paediatrics, internal medicine, or another. These skills will ensure that the rural communities you serve have access to specialised medical services, just like their city counterparts.

If you are completing FACRRM, you will undertake a year of Advanced Specialised Training (AST), which can be done at any time after you have completed your hospital component of Core Generalist Training (CGT).

Registrars who are completing a FARGP will undertake an additional year of rural specialist training known as Advanced Rural Skills Training (ARST). This extra year of training can be done at any time after the hospital year during the four-year fellowship.

Registrars pursuing a FRACGP will undertake a six-month training post, known as an Extended Skills (ES) post, which can be completed in either General Practice or an elected specialty discipline.

Program name College Duration Discipline
Advanced Specialised Training ACRRM Twelve months in one discipline or two years in surgery See ACRRM website
Advanced Rural Skills Training RACGP Twelve months in one discipline, or
Six months in one discipline and six months in another
See FARGP information

Become a Rural Generalist

Rural Generalists are specialist general practitioners trained to bring a broad set of advanced skilled services to people living rural and remote communities.

Rural Generalist Medicine is defined 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.

FACRRM

Applicants applying to train towards FACRRM, or currently training towards FACRRM, are considered to be undertaking Rural Generalist Training through the AGPT Program and can access the flexibility available under the AGPT Rural Generalist Policy 2020 without needing to express interest or undertake any additional enrolment or eligibility tests.

FRACGP combined with FARGP

During the selection process, applicants need to indicate their interest in training under the Rural Generalist Training Policy by selecting the appropriate option in the application form. Applicants must also select the rural pathway and be seeking fellowship of RACGP combined with FARGP in order to be considered to train under the policy.

RACGP Registrars who are already enrolled on the AGPT Program can opt into Rural Generalist Training through the AGPT Program at the discretion of the RACGP.

Applicants should nominate the Regional Training Organisation (RTO) encompassing the geographical region where they intend to settle and complete their ACRRM PRRT / RACGP GP terms.  If necessary, it may be possible to make arrangements to complete some components of training (H/CCT, AST) in the other Qld RTO.  It is recognised that Registrars do not have control over the region where such positions can be attained.

Doctors on the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway (QRGP) or any other state Rural Generalist pathway will need to apply to the AGPT rural pathway.
View GPTQ’s information sheet for doctors on the Rural Generalist Pathway considering GP training.

Key benefits of the rural pathway with GPTQ

  • Rural medicine will give you a diversity of patient presentations and teach you self-sufficiency.
  • Your training placements will give you the opportunity to experience life in rural communities.
  • You will receive additional financial support because you have chosen to go rural for your training.
  • You will still have access to some of our most popular training locations, such as Bribie Island and Stradbroke Island.

Find out more about the application and selection process

What is it like to work in rural medicine?

Hear our registrars and supervisors talk about working in rural and remote locations.

Rural GP Training with GPTQ

Dr Fiona Mckinnon shares her experience of training on the rural pathway with GPTQ.

Frequently asked questions

What support is there for rural placements?

During your training on the rural pathway, you will be given lots of training support, both general and personalised. This ensures you get the most out of your training. This support includes:

  • GP supervisors
  • Medical educators
  • Registrar liaison officers
  • Face-to-face meetings and workshops
  • Video conferencing
  • Online communities
  • Annual events

Get more information about support on the rural pathway.
Discover real-life rural stories.

Should I work in a rural or remote community?

If you go rural, you’ll find some unique challenges and rewards. These include the opportunity to:

  • practise a range of medicine
  • build self-sufficiency while working independently or as part of a small team
  • become an integral part of a local community
  • experience lower living costs than metropolitan areas
  • see different parts of the country
  • learn from highly skilled rural doctors

There are also financial incentives for GPs working in rural and remote areas.
Find out more about what it’s like to live and work rurally.

We asked rural doctors some of the questions that frequently come up. Here is what they have to say about rural practice.

I am a Queensland Health Rural Generalist doctor. Do I need to select the rural pathway when applying for the AGPT program?

Yes. Queensland Health Rural Generalist doctors are committed to training in rural areas and therefore should apply for the rural pathway only.

Do I have to do a rural fellowship if I take the rural pathway?

No. Your choice of AGPT training pathway is not related to your choice of fellowship – whether with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) or The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). You can complete either a three (FRACGP) or four-year (FACRRM or FRACGP+FARGP) fellowship via the Rural Pathway. The four-year fellowships offer additional training in rural medicine.

You only need to complete the appropriate training and assessment for the fellowship you wish to attain.

Find out more about GP fellowships.

Can I change from the rural pathway to the general pathway?

Transfers between pathways are possible, but only in certain circumstances.

Transfers are considered if:

  • you have an identified career and/or education and training requirement (excluding your extended skills, advanced specialised training and/or advanced rural skills terms) and all options to undertake training in an area in need of doctors in your training region have been exhausted.
  • you or an immediate family member have extenuating and unforeseen changes to your personal circumstances.
  • you or an immediate family member have an unforeseen medical condition that cannot be adequately or safely managed in the location where you are based.

Any request for transfer between pathways must be supported by your regional training organisation, supported by the appropriate documentation, and pursued in accordance with the AGPT transfer policy.

What’s the difference between the rural pathway and the general pathway?

There are two pathways available through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program: rural pathway and general pathway.
If you train on the rural pathway, you are required to complete your training in rural and remote settings (ASGC-RA2-5 or MMM2 – 7). Registrars on the rural pathway can work anywhere in Australia once they achieve Fellowship. If you train on the general pathway, you can complete your training in rural, remote or metropolitan settings. However, there are restrictions on general pathway registrars in terms of completing part of their training in areas in need of doctors.

Doctors on the 10-Year Moratorium ie overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of accredited Australian medical schools can only apply for the rural pathway.
Please refer to the above explainer video to understand the difference between the two pathways.
Find out more about the 10-year moratorium.
Find out more about training pathways.

How long do I have to commit to a rural area if I take the rural pathway?

If you choose to follow the rural pathway during your training to become a GP, you are required to commit to remaining in a rural area for the duration of the training program. However, while the pathway affects where you can train, it doesn’t impact where you can work once you have completed your training. Your GP training will enable you to practice anywhere in Australia once you have completed your fellowship.

Find out more about our training regions.

What is a rural area?

The Australian Government categorises locations using the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification guidelines. From 2019 onwards, the recently introduced Modified Monash Model (MMM) will be used to categorise locations according to their population. There are seven categories in this classification. MMM1 is the equivalent of ASGC-RA1 and corresponds to major cities. MMM2 – 7 correspond to rural areas and constitute the rural pathway. These are further categorised based on distance from a major regional town and populations as seen below:

MMM1: All areas categorised as ASGC-RA1.

MMM2: Areas categorised ASGC-RA 2 and ASGC-RA 3 that are in, or within 20km road distance, of a town with population >50,000.

MMM3: Areas categorised ASGC-RA 2 and ASGC-RA 3 that are not in MM 2 and are in, or within 15km road distance, of a town with a population between 15,000 and 50,000.

MMM4: Areas categorised ASGC-RA 2 and ASGC-RA 3 that are not in MM 2 or MM 3, and are in, or within 10km road distance, of a town with a population between 5,000 and 15,000.

MMM5: All other areas in ASGC-RA 2 and 3.

MMM6: All areas categorised ASGC-RA 4 that are not on a populated island that is separated from the mainland in the ABS geography and is more than 5km offshore.

MMM7: All other areas – that being ASGC-RA 5 and areas on a populated island that is separated from the mainland in the ABS geography and is more than 5km offshore.

For the purpose of GP Training, existing GPTQ GP registrars up until the 2018 cohort are permitted to use the MMM or ASGC classification for determining rural placements. However, the 2019 cohort and onwards would only use the MMM model for the same.

Find out more about the MMM classification model.
You can also find out a region’s rural / remoteness classification using the doctorconnect website.

Find out more about GPTQ’s training region.

How do I find out which AGPT pathway I am eligible to apply for?

There are eligibility requirements for both the rural pathway and the general pathway in the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program. Factors that affect eligibility include:

    • where you studied medicine
    • citizenship status
    • general medical registration status

Find out more about eligibility.
You can also use the AGPT Pathway Eligibility Flowchart to self-assess your pathway eligibility.

If you cannot find what you’re looking for, send us your question here.