For both human and systemic reasons, there is a chronic shortage of general surgical and obstetric–gynaecological specialists in some parts of rural and remote Australia. There is also a shortage of other specialists (eg, ENT, urology, and plastic surgery) in some regional centres. Additionally, many rural towns with one surgeon have a workload that would support two, and some two-surgeon towns could sustain more. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and most State health departments have a policy of, or preference for, at least two surgeons in appropriate towns with populations and resources to warrant these services.1 This allows manageable "on call" hours, safe-hours work practice and professional support.
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