Preliminary evidence from Queensland that rural clinical schools have a positive impact on rural intern choices
Citation: Wilkinson D, Birks J, Davies L, Margolis S, Baker P. Preliminary evidence from Queensland that rural clinical schools have a positive impact on rural intern choices
. Rural and Remote Health 4: 340. (Online) 2004. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au
Introduction: The unequal and inequitable distribution of the medical workforce between rural and urban parts of Australia has been well documented. Commonwealth and state governments have introduced several significant initiatives in an attempt to address this imbalance, including recruitment of many overseas trained doctors. One longer-term initiative is the funding of university departments of rural health and rural clinical schools in medical schools. Objective: To determine the impact of the rural clinical division of the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, on the intern workforce in central and southern Queensland, Australia.
Methods: Time series analysis of first preferences for intern allocation among UQ graduates and source of interns (UQ, interstate and overseas) from 2001-2005, and comparison of trends between Rockhampton and Toowoomba (UQ student placements since 2003) with Mackay (no placements).
Results: First preferences for Rockhampton increased from six in 2001 to 10 in 2005, and for Toowoomba from five in 2002 to 12 in 2005, while for Mackay preferences were stable at two. At Rockhampton while two interns came from overseas in 2001 and three were from interstate in 2002, UQ provided all interns in 2004 or 2005. UQ has provided 12/13 interns in 2004 and 13/14 in 2005 for Toowoomba. Mackay continues to source interns from interstate and overseas with UQ providing only 3/5 interns in 2004 and 2005. At Rockhampton, among non-bonded UQ graduates the number of interns choosing to work there increased from zero in 2001 to six in 2005. For Toowoomba, numbers were seven and 10 respectively, while for Mackay it was zero.
Conclusion: UQ’s rural clinical division is having a positive impact on the intern workforce in the regional hospitals most closely allied with it.
Key words: interns, Queensland, rural, workforce.
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