Associations between rural background and where South Australian general practitioners work

D. Wilkinson, J. J. Beilby, D. J. Thompson, G. A. Laven, N. L. Chamberlain, C. O.M. Laurence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the association between rural background on practice location of general practitioners (GPs) (rural or urban). Design: Comparison of data from two postal surveys. Subjects: 268 rural and 236 urban GPs practising in South Australia. Main outcome measures: Association between practice location (rural or urban) and demographic characteristics, training, qualifications, and rural background. Results: Rural GPs were younger than urban GPs (mean age 47 versus 50 years; P<0.01) and more likely to be male (81% versus 67%, P=0.001), to be Australian-born (72% versus 61%, P=0.01), to have a partner (95% versus 85%, P=0.001), and to have children (94% versus 85%, P=0.001). Similar proportions of rural and urban GPs were trained in Australia and were Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, but more rural GPs were vocationally registered (94% versus 84%, P=0.001). Rural GPs were more likely to have grown up in the country (37% versus 27%, P=0.02), to have received primary (33% versus 19%, P=0.001) and secondary (25% versus 13%, P=0.001) education there, and to have a partner who grew up in the country (49% versus 24%, P=0.001). In multivariate analysis, only primary education in the country (odds ratio [OR], 2.43; 95% CI, 1.09-5.56) and partner of rural background (OR, 3.14; 95% CI, 1.96-5.10) were independently associated with rural practice. Conclusion: Our findings support the policy of promoting entry to medical school of students with a rural background and provide an argument for policies that address the needs of partners and maintain quality primary and secondary education in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-140
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


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