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The fully government funded Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program trains medical registrars in general practice. Registrars who achieve their fellowship through the program can work as a GP anywhere in Australia.

The AGPT program will ensure you have the skills to deal with the breadth of clinical challenges that comes with working in rural and remote locations while also being a valued and trusted member of the community.

The continuity of care rural GPs give to their patients is unparalleled with the opportunity to care for multiple generations within the same family.

GPs play a leading role in ensuring equal health access in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Dr Peter Smith RACGP Fellow, 2004

Peter’s path to medicine and becoming a country GP was far from routine. He was aged 40 and had been a self-employed contractor cleaner and mowing lawns for 20 years when change beckoned.

He returned to university as a mature-aged student after 20 years without studying, and joined the GP program with the Western Australian Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine (now Rural Health West) in his second year of medical studies with the intent to go rural.

“I was committed to rural practice from the onset, having spent many years in the country,” he said.
“Now, every day involves different challenges and situations, which is really stimulating and provides job satisfaction.”
“It’s not as if you’re repeating the same thing every day; every week there are very different scenarios.”

Peter was open to where he wanted to work, so after talking to his wife and three children while studying, he chose Karratha.

“After about three years of training terms in hospitals in Perth, I went to Karratha in a shared role at the Nickol Bay Hospital and Karratha Medical Centre, staying there for seven years,” he said.
“In those days there were no specialist colleagues or backup in Karratha, meaning you had to send people out, and it’s the same in Narrogin, where I am now.
“You have to deal with everything. I do a lot of emergency work and obstetrics. You don’t have that in metro because there are tertiary hospitals within half an hour.
“We have to hold on to patients when they are unwell and keep them stable until they’re able to fly out with the RFDS or transfer by ambulance with St John Ambulance.”

In his time as a GP, Peter has delivered babies, been involved in the care of people in their last days of life and served in the emergency department for his community.

“The value is that you’re part of the whole community and they know and respect you for what you do.”

Dr Liam Walsh ACRRM Fellow, 2022

Liam finds the country lifestyle to be much more appealing than city life, and general practice helps him live the life he wants.

His grandfather was a big inspiration for his choice to join general practice.

“My grandfather was a rural GP at Three Springs in the 1970s and he would tell me interesting stories of his time out there,” Liam said.
“They had two doctors at one point and later it was only him.

He had to work a lot harder than I do, seeing a minimum of 40 a day.”

Liam said he loved being able to push his clinical skills and have them tested.

“You have to do certain things for the patient that you wouldn’t have to do in a better-resourced setting,” he said
“If you’re in the country, you have to at least start those treatment processes for whatever walks through the door, liaise appropriately and get the patient out of town if that’s what is required.
“Any day… when I’m able to swap between the clinic and the hospital I regard as my best day working as a GP because the day flows well and I can treat a number of different problems,” he said.
“Those days when you feel like you really are the town doctor and you’re able to provide that service to everyone are definitely great days in general practice.”

You can apply for the AGPT with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) or the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) during your intern, hospital or subsequent years. Intakes occur twice per year.

Acknowledgement of Country