Introduction: Little attention has been paid to issues relating to the education, training and support needs of Australian medical graduates and international medical graduates (IMGs) in rural practices. The focus continues to be on recruiting to rural areas. The aim of this article was to document the education, training and support needs of rural GPs.
Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were made of rural GPs working in rural north-west New South Wales, Australia. The main outcome measures were the key factors influencing rural GPs to stay in rural practice.
Results: Australian medical graduates and IMGs largely agree on key education, training and professional support needs. Continuing professional development, training opportunities, professional support and networking, as well as financial support are the doctors' shared top priority issues. Rural GPs satisfied with their current medical practice, intend to remain in rural practice for 40% longer than those who are not satisfied (11.5 years compared with 8.2 years). Rural GPs contented with their life as a rural doctor intend to remain in rural practice for 51% longer than those who are discontented (11.8 years compared with 7.8 years).
Conclusion: While there is merit in delivering specially designed initiatives to target groups, such as male or female GPs, registrars or GPs, our results support the notion that IMGs should not so much be considered to have special needs, but rather an integral part of the region's medical workforce.