Background: The case for doctors' performance and maintenance of competence are issues of increasing importance for the profession, governments and communities. There is also increasing public expectation that the profession will be pro-active in protecting patients from under performing doctors. The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) positions itself as the arbiter of standards for rural and remote medical practice and has assumed responsibility for providing a mandatory Professional Development Program (PDP) for its Fellows.
Objective: This paper outlines the steps taken by the ACRRM to design and develop a PDP.
Discussion: The PDP aims to enable doctors to participate in a range of continuing education activities that enhance their clinical, management and professional skills. Participation is mandatory but the program is designed to be flexible and responsive to the range of practice characteristics in rural Australia as well as to individual needs. The PDP includes categories on continuing medical education, quality assurance and clinical assessment (with minimum compulsory requirements), practice assessment, educator activities and educational development activities. The PDP will evolve over time to meet the needs of doctors and communities in rural and remote Australia.