Why Is It So Hard To Attract and Retain Rural Primary Care Physicians?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew R. McGrail, PhD Monash University School of Rural Health Churchill, Victoria Australia

Dr. McGrail

Matthew R. McGrail, PhD
Monash University
School of Rural Health
Churchill, Victoria Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Rural populations continue to experience relative shortages of the supply of primary care physicians, with associated links to poorer health. Although considerable research has identified factors that facilitate or impede supply of physicians in rural areas, macro-level empirical evidence of observed rural mobility of physicians – notably, which are more likely to move and why – is limited.

Improved understanding of mobility and nonretention of rural physicians is important because of its impact on training and workforce policy, and resultant physician supply to both the origin area (ie, the location from which the physician moved) and to the destination area (ie, the location to which the physician has moved). The cost of mobility and staff turnover can be large, both in direct costs but also in terms of service quality and continuity to the community.

In our study, we aimed to describe the geographic mobility patterns of rural primary care physicians. This evidence will provide stronger understanding of the factors behind the observed mobility and nonretention of rural primary care physicians.

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