A comparison of rural and regional work locations and speciality choices between graduates from the University of Wollongong and all Australian medical schools using the Medical Schools Outcomes DatabaseColin H. Cortie, David Garne, Lyndal Parker‐Newlyn, Rowena G. Ivers, Judy Mullan, Kylie J. Mansfield, Andrew Bonney
- Family Practice
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
The shortfall in medical workers in rural and remote Australia has led to health discrepancies in these regions. The University of Wollongong’s medical program was designed to encourage graduates to work in these regions to address this shortfall.
To compare rural and regional locations of work and choices of speciality between University of Wollongong's graduates and graduates from all Australian universities.
We conducted a longitudinal analysis on data available from the Medical Schools Outcome database, with graduate exit surveys linked to registrations of location and speciality. Rural and remote locations were identified as MM2‐7 regions using the Modified Monash Model. In total, 716 graduates from the University of Wollongong and 26 915 graduates from all Australian medical schools completed the MSOD exit survey in 2010‐2021 and registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in 2022. The main outcome was the relative likelihood (relative risk) of cohorts working in rural and regional areas and of cohorts choosing general practice as their speciality.
University of Wollongong's medical graduates were 1.51 times or 51% more likely to work in regional or rural areas (RR 1.51, 95% CI 1.34 to 1.71, p < 0.0001). Respondents who were 10 or more years post graduation were 1.57 times or 57% more likely to specialise in general practice than all other Australian medical graduates (RR 1.57 95% CI: 1.40 to 1.79, p < 0.0001).
The University of Wollongong's medical school is producing graduates to meet Australia's rural health workforce needs. This may be due to a higher intake of rural students, and a higher percentage of students taking rural placements.
Rural health workforce needs can be addressed through rural‐focussed education strategies.