RANZCP welcomes launch of Rural Psychiatry Training program in WA

The peak body of psychiatrists has welcomed the Rural Psychiatry Training program being launched in Western Australia today.

The Rural Psychiatry Training WA (RPTWA) program will attract, train and retain psychiatrists in country WA and enable them to meet the diverse and unique needs of rural communities.

A first of its kind rural psychiatry training program in Australia and New Zealand, the RPTWA has been accredited by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). It will be overseen by WA Country Health Service (WACHS). 

'The RPTWA program is a direct result of the work done by the RANZCP to develop the Rural Psychiatry Roadmap 2021, combined with the tireless advocacy efforts of the RANZCP WA branch and Section of Rural Psychiatry', said Dr Michael Verheggen, RANZCP WA Branch Chair.

'Unfortunately, we’re witnessing unprecedented workforce shortages in psychiatry across the board in WA, but rural and regional areas are the worst affected'.  

'The solution lies in developing and strengthening our own rural, regional and remote mental health workforce. The College wants to support training people right from medical school, through to specialist qualifications in the regions'.

'The launch of this program is a good step that will deliver great benefits for our regional communities. The RANZCP wholeheartedly welcomes the launch of the RPTWA program'.

Dr Steven Blefari, Director of Training, Rural Psychiatry Training (WA) said the program can truly establish an end-to-end training pipeline for rural doctors to become specialists in psychiatry.

'We’re thankful for the assistance provided by the RANZCP WA branch and the WA Branch Training Committee in setting up the program, including accreditation by the College'.

'With the College’s support, we can seriously increase the training capacity in the regions, thereby creating a more equitable and sustainable mental health workforce in rural WA'. 

'We’re thrilled to welcome new trainees into rural and remote regions of WA from February 2023 and kickstart the first leg of training'.

Associate Professor Mathew Coleman, Chair, RANZCP Section of Rural Psychiatry who led the development of the Rural Psychiatry Roadmap 2021 said the launch of the RPTWA program is a momentous occasion.
'This unique rural and remote psychiatry training program has received the backing of the Commonwealth government in obtaining funding for a rural director of training, in addition to significant investment and commitment from WA Country Health service through the Department of Health and the WA Mental Health Commission.

'This funding will deliver the necessary resources and enact systematic changes to enable specialist training of psychiatrists to occur outside Perth for the first time'. 

'Bringing training opportunities to rural doctors ensures they can sustainably live, work and train in psychiatry in rural and remote communities. This program is a game changer, and it is a real thrill to see WA lead the way. I have no doubt WA will become an internationally recognised place in training fit-for-purpose, quality rural generalist psychiatrists', Associate Professor Coleman said.

The Rural Psychiatry Roadmap and the Rural Psychiatry Training program are two recent initiatives spearheaded by the RANZCP as part of its commitment to improving the psychiatry workforce in rural and remote areas.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

In Aotearoa New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, 1737 is here to help, for free - Mental Health. You can also contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.


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