RANZCOG’s OGET pilot delivers training to rural and regional maternity services – College urges government to extend funding

RANZCOG

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Updated
18 March 2024

The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Education and Training (OGET) project, for which RANZCOG successfully secured funding from the Australian Government in 2021, addresses the essential need for equitable delivery of health services in Australia. Data collected highlights a significant maldistribution of the workforce with a shortage of maternity and maternity-related services in country towns, and a need for training opportunities in rural, regional, and remote areas. The College is now calling on the Honourable Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care to continue OGET funding beyond February 2025. 

Last week, Gympie, a large rural town, located approximately 170 kms north of Brisbane, Queensland played host to both OGET and EMET (the emergency medicine equivalent of OGET) – programs that members and multidisciplinary teams say are desperately needed to retain maternity services in the region.  

“It was fantastic to see staff from both the emergency department and maternity, some of whom have worked alongside each other for many years but never met, engage in a lively and collaborative discussion about management of common obstetric emergencies. These programs are so important for the delivery of safe and equitable care – without them, we risk losing our workforce and rural health services,” said RANZCOG Fellow and OGET trainer Dr Vanessa Watson. 

“Staff in rural hospitals work so hard, they rarely have time or opportunity to access any education – especially if they are senior staff. EMET and OGET offer opportunities to access education and connect with near-by specialists to help make our work better together,” EMET trainer and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Fellow, Dr Sonia Twigg, told RANZCOG. 

The loss of maternity services in rural towns can have a devastating effect. It can lead to reduced health services overall, young families leaving, and a lack of local services for First Nation Peoples on their own Country. Maintaining high quality and safe obstetric and gynaecological services in rural and remote Australia is therefore essential for many towns’ survival. This however is not without significant challenges. RANZCOG urges the Commonwealth Government to support and ensure the safety of rural and remote women and their families by extending OGET funding. 

For media enquiries
Bec McPhee
Manager, Executive Office & Advocacy
0413 258 166
bmcphee@ranzcog.edu.au

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