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Recruitment and retention of rural GPs : the role of skill substitution and home and work balance

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Peterson, Chris; Willis, Evan
  • Editors: Majoribanks, T,
  • Journal Name: Reimagining sociology : 2008 TASA Conference : the annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association
  • ISBN: 9780734039842
  • Country: Australia

For sometime it has been recognised that there is a maldistribution of GPs, favouring metropolitan areas and disadvantaging country areas. This problem also exists in a number of other developed countries. There has been extensive research carried out in Australia as well as the US, UK, and Canada on how to attract and retain GPs in country areas. This research has focussed on aspects such as financial incentives to offer to GPs and on how to create career incentives through rural practice. This paper focuses on two themes emerging from the literature that have currency for addressing the lack of GPs in Australia. The first is that GPs can reduce their workload in rural areas by delegating some of their tasks to other health professionals such as nursing practitioners, a practice common in the US and Canada. The second is that increased emphasis needs to be given to creating a work and homelife balance for GPs and their spouses in order to create an attractive lifestyle in country areas for GPs. If these two factors are given greater emphasis in rural health policy, they may increase recruitment and retention rates for GPs by creating less workload and a more supported work and home environment.

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