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About Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs
The Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs (NQRTH) connect medical students, interns and junior doctors with opportunities and resources to create a supportive and clear path to specialist training in our regions.
In 2015, under the Health Workforce Program, the Australian Government launched the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline for Medicine (IRTP). The initiative aims to retain medical graduates in northern Queensland through better coordinating the different stages of medical training within regions and build additional junior doctor places and specialist training positions in regional and rural areas.
As part of the IRTP, NQRTH was formed by James Cook University partnering with the public and private hospitals and health services and GP clinics in the areas of Cairns, Central West, Mackay, North West, Torres and Cape, and Townsville.
This collaborative medical training network is contributing to a high-quality, sustainable, and stable medical workforce committed to improving the health services of rural and remote communities in northern Queensland.
With the support of NQRTH, interns and junior doctors are taking the leap towards regional training. In doing so, they discover for themselves the hands-on training experience, job-satisfaction, research opportunities and adventure on offer in northern Queensland.
Addressing a critical need in our northern regions
There is a long-held misconception among junior doctors that is harming the health of our rural communities. That is, if you want to get into a highly competitive training program, you must complete your junior training years in a metropolitan hospital.
This misconception is leading to a disproportionate number going to, or staying in, major cities, creating a shortage of doctors in regional, rural and remote areas.
Nearly 3 out of 10 Australians live in regional and remote areas and often have poorer health outcomes than people living in metropolitan areas.
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Right now, these diverse communities are experiencing significant health workforce shortages. There are 3.8 doctors per 1,000 people in Australia’s cities, a figure which drops drastically to 2.3 per 1,000 in rural and remote areas.
The worsening maldistribution of doctors means where a patient lives could determine how, when, and sometimes even if they receive the medical treatment they need.
NQRTH operates on the principle that everyone should have access to high-quality healthcare, no matter their postcode.
Our vision is to improve the health of communities in the northern Queensland region and create a connected career pathway. We aim to have an integrated pipeline of medical training across the training continuum that provides a high quality, self-sustaining medical workforce that is responsive to the health needs of northern Queensland.
We are working together to:
- Support and expand medical training in northern Queensland through an integrated network of training pathways utilising a model of rural/regional and public/private rotations that begin in the undergraduate years enabling doctors to be based in northern Queensland for all of their post-graduate training, with rotations away to major cities only as required.
- Provide focused support for rural training opportunities for doctors at all stages of their medical training - undergraduate, junior doctor and specialist vocational training.
- Improve the retention of medical trainees to rural and regional areas by providing an enhanced level of support.
- Identify medical students and medical trainees with an interest in practising rurally or regionally, and provide them with support and relevant information at the early stages of their careers.
- Link medical training opportunities across northern Queensland facilities to enable medical trainees to complete as much of their specialist training as possible within the region.
- Develop regional training capacity by supporting current supervisors of clinical training, assisting health services in obtaining accreditation for new training positions, and supporting local medical practitioners to become clinical supervisors.
Our Training Network
Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs is a partnership between private and public hospital and health services, GP clinics and James Cook University, who are all committed to improving the health services of rural and remote communities in the areas of Cairns, Central West, Mackay, North West, Torres and Cape, and Townsville.
James Cook University
James Cook University (JCU) is Australia’s most successful university in producing doctors, dentists and pharmacists and other health professionals who serve regional, rural and remote communities. JCU graduates are six to eight times more likely to undertake rural service than those of other medical schools.
JCU is committed to improving healthcare in underserved, rural, remote, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and beyond. A key aspect of this commitment is JCU’s NQRTH initiative.
James Cook University is proud to facilitate NQRTH to bolster the specialist workforce in the communities across northern Queensland. JCU has partnered with training network of hospital and health services to map specialty training pathways for junior doctors. This creates a connected career pathway beginning at the medical undergraduate level right through to fellowship.
Public Hospitals and Health Services
- Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service
- Central West Hospital and Health Service
- Mackay Hospital and Health Service
- North West Hospital and Health Service
- Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service
- Townsville Hospital and Health Service
Private Hospitals & Clinics
- GP clinics across northern Queensland region are working with us as part of this initiative to improve the shortage of General Practitioners in the area. Participating GP practices.
JCU General Practice Training
James Cook University (JCU) provides training in the medical specialty of general practice (GP) through their GP training program. Find out how they're training GP registrars to make a difference in North Western Queensland.
NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.