Supply of doctors to a rural region: Occupations of Tromsø medical graduates 1979–2012
Background: The aim of establishing the medical school in Tromsø in 1973 was to improve access to doctors and standards of health care for the previously underprivileged rural population of Northern Norway. In this study we examine how the aim of supplying doctors to the north has been achieved. Material and methods: By utilising a cross-sectional design we have analysed 34 classes of Tromsø medical graduates (1979–2012) with regard to occupations in 2013 by the year of graduation and by successive pools of cohorts. Results: In 2013 altogether 822 of 1611 doctors (51%) were working in Northern Norway. The proportions working in the north for old, intermediate and young cohorts were 37%, 48% and 60%, respectively. Doctors graduating during recent years tended to start their careers in the north to a higher degree than doctors graduating in previous periods. Among doctors from the older classes a relatively large minority have their end-careers in Northern Norway, with a noticeable inclination for long term work in primary care. Conclusion: Our results support that the first rural oriented medical education model in Europe established in Tromsø 40 years ago is sustainable, achieving its aims.
Accepted manuscript version. Published version at http://doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2015.1009427.