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Aust J Rural Health. 2005 Feb;13(1):14-20.

Doctors in vocational training: rural background and rural practice intentions.

Erratum in

  • Aust J Rural Health. 2005 Jun;13(3):201.



To report the findings of a national survey of Australian doctors in vocational training about their rural practice intentions and their plans to work full time or part time.


A self-administered mailed survey.


Vocational training: general practice and other medical college training programs.


Australian doctors (i.e. Australian citizens and permanent residents) registered with one of Australia's 17 medical college vocational training programs in September 2002.


Intention to practise in a rural area on completion of vocational training; full-time or part-time practice plans; views about rural practice.


Of the 7899 doctors who met the criteria for inclusion in the study, 4259 (54%) responded. In total:14% indicated a preference for rural practice on completion of vocational training; 17% were GP trainees of which 31% preferred rural practice; 83% were registered with one of the other 16 specialist training programs (e.g. adult medicine, paediatric medicine and surgery) of which 10% preferred rural practice; 50% of general practice trainees and 23% of trainees in other specialist training programs with a rural background indicated a preference for rural practice in the long term, compared with 25% and 7%, respectively, of doctors with an urban background; 46% of general practice trainees with intentions to practise in a rural area plan to practise part time. A positive association was observed between rural background and preference for rural practice (odds ratio (OR) 2.9) and between preference for rural practice and enrollment in the rural general practice training pathway (OR 3.1) and involvement in rural education and training activities (OR 5.1).


The findings of this study support initiatives to increase the number of rural background students entering medical school and rural education and vocational training initiatives. Australia's rural doctor shortage is not likely to be addressed by this cohort of doctors in vocational training. General practice workforce plans, rural and urban, need to take note of the high proportion of doctors who plan to practise part time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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