For five years the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) has managed, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, Stream 2 of the Rural Health Education program (RHCE2). This program provides grants, on a competitive basis, for inter-professional learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for health professionals in rural and remote areas. In total, 119 projects have been funded under RHCE2, involving over 8,500 health professionals working in rural and remote areas.
RHCE2 will end in December 2015 and the main responsibility for providing CPD to health professionals in rural and remote areas will fall to the newly-established Primary Health Networks (PHNs). The Government has funded the NRHA, with its expertise in managing the RHCE2 program, to undertake ‘knowledge transfer’ work with the PHNs involved in future rural and remote CPD. The Alliance has committed to hosting a series of roundtables on CPD over the coming months (July-October) – particularly with rural and remote area PHNs.
The plan is to host roundtables across Australia: in Perth, Broome and Geraldton in Western Australia, Bendigo in Victoria, Cairns in Queensland, Darwin & Alice Springs in Northern Territory, Adelaide in South Australia and Sydney in New South Wales. While the dates and venues are yet to be finalised, the aim of these roundtables is to:
- facilitate knowledge transfer and promote the benefits of locally based CPD for rural and remote health workforce;
- exchange/transfer knowledge on how the RHCE2 project’s experiences and tools/products can be used by PHNs, other health care services/agencies and tertiary institutions;
- showcase RHCE2 projects and products to the PHNs for information on each RHCE2 project;
- discuss local/regional issues and approaches relating to CPD; and
- publish information on the outcomes, presentations and products of the roundtables on the NRHA website so they are publically available when the RHCE2 project finishes in December 2015.
An Intellectual Property register for all RHCE2 projects products, resources and documentation will also be established. To find out more please read the overview of the projects completed under RHCE2 and the national evaluation report for examples of projects which successfully addressed the issues around accessing and delivering CPD, on limited budgets, to meet local workforce needs.
If you would like to contribute to the regional roundtable conversations, or you wish to name key contacts for the issues being considered, we would like to hear from you. Please call Wendy Downs, RHCE2 Program Manager on (02) 6162 3374 or freecall 1800 987 440.