This research provides a profile of those who were attracted and recruited to work in rural and remote locations throughout Australia as part of a case managed, government-funded recruitment and retention programme, and an early indication of the factors that impact on their distribution.
These early findings may also have some implications for the future focus and promotional activities of the programme. For example, this research suggests internationally trained recruits may be less attracted to work in remote areas compared with domestically trained recruits, and older (likely more experienced) recruits may be more attracted to work in remote areas.
Previous research  has shown that health professionals trained rurally and/or remotely are more likely to be recruited and retained in rural and remote areas. Indeed, 54% of RHPP recruits said that they had previously lived in a rural or remote area prior to joining the programme. However, the research has also to some extent, demonstrated the capacity of a case-managed recruitment and retention programme to have an impact on the distribution of allied health and nursing professionals throughout rural and remote Australia. Forty-six percent of RHPP recruits had never lived in rural or remote Australia and 100 health professionals moved from practising in metropolitan Australia to practising in rural and remote locations with the support of the RHPP. Overall, after only 13 months of programme operation, 15 recruits had also commenced practice in very remote locations, despite only four recruits reported as having worked in remote or very remote locations prior to joining the RHPP. Nevertheless, it is imperative going forward that an evaluation be conducted that compares the number of health professionals that are recruited to rural and remote Australia with, as well as without, the support of the programme. Such comparisons are not possible using administrative programme data alone, but would enable rigorous identification of the capacity of case-managed recruitment programmes to impact on recruitment and distribution outcomes.
In addition, given the early stage of the programme, it is not yet possible to determine the extent to which it has impacted on retention outcomes. In the future, this would ideally be measured through the identification of an appropriate control group that allows for comparison of retention outcomes for people who are employed and case-managed under the RHPP with those that are employed in rural and remote locations but are not part of the RHPP. Future research and evaluation could also consider whether there are specific aspects or support services offered as part of the programme that contribute more strongly to successful recruitment and/or retention of health professionals.