The inaugural meeting of a group of “isolated paediatricians” occurred in May 1981 at the Australian College of Paediatrics (ACP) Annual Scientific Meeting in Canberra. The isolated paediatricians were the pioneers of specialist paediatric services in rural Australia and recognized their shared education and social needs.
This informal group met each year at the ACP Annual Scientific Meeting and soon created a special Isolated Paediatrics Group educational meeting.
In the early 1990s an Executive formed and the Australian College of Paediatrics invited the Isolated Paediatricians Group to become the Regional Paediatricians Group (RPG) with a formal affiliation with the Australian College of Paediatrics.
The RPG grew in numbers as more regional paediatricians began serving rural and regional Australia. A web page was developed on the RACP website and a regular satellite educational day and formal dinner were incorporated into the RACP Annual Scientific Meeting.
In 1997 following several requests from metropolitan general paediatricians who considered they had similar educational and social needs, the group expanded to include those metropolitan paediatricians and became the Regional and General Paediatric Society (RGPS).
In 2001 following amalgamation of the Australian College of Paediatrics with the RACP the RGPS became a Special Interest Group of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The RGPS had committee representation on the Divisional Committee, Annual Scientific Program Committee, Paediatric Policy Committee, Specialist Advisory Committee-General Paediatrics and Rural Workforce Committee.
The RGPS activities included advocating for general paediatrics, political lobbying for general paediatricians and representing rural paediatrics through membership of the National Rural Health Alliance.
In 2008 the RGPS became the Australian Paediatric Society at a time in rural child health when workforce, training and other issues becoming more prominent. The APS represents Australian rural child health but still supports and welcomes those suburban paediatricians that see their educational, social and advocacy needs aligned to those of the regional paediatrician.
The APS is now the peak body for rural child health and represents rural Australian paediatrics within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The APS are long term integral members of the National Rural Health Alliance. We are an important contributor to the Federal Government National Allergy Strategy and have a special collaborative relationship with the International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes. The APS is an advocacy leader for child health in rural Australia.