Rural GPs better paid than city colleagues
RURAL GPs may face longer hours and have more trouble finding locums but they remain higher paid than their urban colleagues, according to research.
Data from the first wave of Monash University’s longitudinal Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) study has indicated that GPs in outer regional, rural and remote Australia are 11.5% higher paid than GPs in major cities.
The new data, based on data collected from almost 4000 GPs, also indicated that earnings are lower for GPs working in socio-economically more advantageous areas with a higher concentration in the number of GPs relative to the size of the population.
The results follow recently published data from the MABEL study indicating that 90% of GPs were satisfied with their work overall, though hours of work, remuneration and recognition remain points of contention (MO online, 19 July).
Rural Health Workforce Australia CEO Dr Kim Webber (PhD) said she hoped the latest report would help encourage more doctors to consider the financial and professional benefits of working in rural Australia despite the ongoing workforce shortages outside metropolitan centres.
“This research shows that rural doctors enjoy very satisfying, well-paid careers. We need to get the message out there that rural practice is an attractive choice, while at the same time acknowledging there are places with underserviced health needs,” Dr Webber said.
“Rural medicine has so much to offer doctors. Not only is the pay great for many rural GPs, but their families enjoy the community spirit that thrives in small towns.”
The research however indicated that despite high satisfaction and pay levels, medical graduates remained more likely to choose urban practice.