The Regional Training Hubs are funded by the Commonwealth Government. While there are three separate hubs, in practice they are closely linked with the aim of providing support and improving rural training for doctors across Western Australia. The Hubs work with partner organizations to support and develop innovative training approaches in WA to address rural medical workforce shortages.
The Integrated Regional Training (IRTP) Hub program is designed to expand opportunities and support rural medical training, leading to increased numbers of doctors committing to rural careers. The state wide network of the Rural Clinical School of WA (joint operation of the University of WA and Notre Dame Australia – Fremantle School of Medicine) manages the Rural Training Hubs in WA. They are:
The RCSWA has multiple offices in each Hub area.
The Kimberley/Pilbara Regional Training Hub is officially based in Broome, however the RCSWA also has offices in Port Hedland and Karratha in the Pilbara and in Derby and Kununurra in the Kimberley. All these RCSWA offices can provide support for prospective rural doctors. The Kimberley and Pilbara regions have a combined population of over 110,000 in an area larger than South Australia.
The Midwest/Goldfields Regional Training Hub is officially based in Geraldton, the capital of the Midwest. This Hub also has RCSWA offices in Kalgoorlie (which is also the official headquarters of RCSWA) and Esperance in the Goldfields as well as Carnarvon in the Midwest. The Midwest/Goldfields hub covers the Health Department regions of the Midwest (population about 70,000) and Goldfields (populations about 60,000).
The Great Southern/South Wheatbelt/South West Regional Training Hub has a total geographical population of 307,000 and is based in Albany, the major centre of the Great Southern. Included in this Hub is the bigger region of the South West, population 176,000, that is very well serviced by a large Regional Hospital with established training and specialists programs in the City of Bunbury.
The primary activity of HUB is the coordination and development of rural training pathways. IRTP Hubs can assist in “joining the dots” on the journey from first year medical students with rural intentions, to junior medical officers in rural and metropolitans sites, to rural GP and specialist registrars, as well as those looking to undertake procedural training.
This coordination requires collaboration with existing stakeholders for doctors in training. Hubs work closely with:
The team at each of the Hubs in WA and the RCSWA more broadly are here to assist with often complex training decisions, career choices, and finding the right fit for you. We provide assistance along the pathway for medical students and junior doctors that leads to Fellowship, and we can help to customise your rural medical training pathway. Staff have close links with local health providers and regional communities that allow us to be aware of local training opportunities. We facilitate and advocate for placements that allow you to complete maximum accredited training time in rural settings.
Until now, doctors in training with a clear idea of their own career pathway still had to negotiate and complete for training posts for each progressive year. It is the core business of IRTP Hubs to develop meaningful rural training pathways for individuals, with secured training posts within rural regions, in procedural training and in appropriate specialised metropolitan terms. Hub can assist with matching trainees with rural general practice positions and in providing JMOs with rural doctor mentors. There is already a well-established rural mentor program for trainees in GP Obstetrics, and GP Anaesthetics, and GP Emergency Medicine, facilitated by Rural Health West.
Individuals can express interest in joining a rural pathway at any point in their training. Some students and RMOs are very clear of their career path, others are not until much later in training. Pathways can change. Life and circumstances can change. It is our business to identify and support students and JMOs with rural intentions. We want to hear from you!