NSW Rural Doctors Network, Newcastle, Australia
The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) was established as a public company limited by guarantee in January 1998 and took over many of the pre-existing roles of the Rural Doctors Resource Network (RDRN) and the NSW Rural Divisions Coordinating Unit (RDCU). The RDN is a not-for-profit membership organization of about 700 Doctors. It provides support for a continuing and high quality rural medical workforce in New South Wales (NSW). RDN develops and administers a number of programs to improve the recruitment and retention of General Practitioners in rural and remote NSW, as well as providing a central information resource for rural medical support initiatives.
RDN aims to provide the highest possible standard of health care to rural and remote communities through the provision of a competent and continuing medical workforce in rural and remote NSW. As one of the earliest formed rural medical workforce agencies in Australia, the RDN has become an organization with a significant amount of influence at both state and national levels. RDN runs several programs to assist the recruitment of suitably skilled Overseas-Trained Doctors and support them once they are working. They, also, support existing rural doctors including provision of Professional Development activities, information and succession planning.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP) and the Indigenous Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (ISOAP) are Australian Government initiatives designed to improve access to specialist medical services for rural and remote communities, and those with significant Indigenous populations. This is administered by RDN. Another program is the Rural Retention Program (RRP). It is an Australian Government initiative that helps remote communities that may experience significant difficulties in retaining general practitioners.
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