Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care

: 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 473-

Further strategies to improve the working experience of rural doctors

Kieran Walsh 
 Clinical Director, BMJ Learning, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Kieran Walsh
Clinical Director of BMJ Learning, BMA House, Tavistock Square, WC1H 9JR, London
United Kingdom

How to cite this article:
Walsh K. Further strategies to improve the working experience of rural doctors.J Family Med Prim Care 2014;3:473-473

How to cite this URL:
Walsh K. Further strategies to improve the working experience of rural doctors. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 May 7 ];3:473-473
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Vallikunnu et al. have presented the results of an insightful study on the working experience of rural doctors in Kerala. [1] A number of concerns were identified - these included concerns with regard to time, administrative and management work, professional development, and future prospects. All these issues are clearly important; however, it would also have been interesting to hear of the rural GPs' views on other topics such as the role of teams in rural and remote healthcare, the relationship between primary care and secondary care in rural and remote healthcare, and the professional status of rural GPs. These are just some of the plethora of factors that affect working experience in rural and remote healthcare.

Thinking in this way is also helpful because it makes us realize that it will be impossible to address all these factors individually - there are too many of them and they are all interdependent. Only a programmatic approach will enable us to tackle the multiple areas that need to be improved in rural and remote primary care. Such a programmatic approach will involve the development of a package of resources to help GPs, their teams and their practices. One component of such as package that might have multiple effects would be to think about medical education in rural and remote healthcare as a continuum. Medical students should have attachments in rural primary care and postgraduate trainees in general practice similarly should have work placements in rural areas. This might give more medical learners a taste of rural primary care and might encourage some of them to take this option seriously as a career choice. It would also enable some rural GPs to develop their roles as teachers and to develop links with medical schools in the undergraduate arena and with medical training authorities in the postgraduate arena. This, in turn, might assist in the development of better partnership working. Education might also be interprofessional - thus enabling better relationships between medical and nursing schools, and in the long term enabling better interprofessional teamwork in the delivery of care.

Strategies to improve the working lives of GPs in rural and remote areas should be joined up and if they are joined up then they are likely to have a range of positive effects on the practice, education and professional development opportunities for this group of doctors.

Yours Sincerely,


1Vallikunnu V, Kumar SG, Sarkar S, Kar SS, Harichandrakumar KT. A qualitative study on working experience of rural doctors in malappuram district of kerala, India. J Family Med Prim Care 2014;3:141-5.