The RCS Program has now enabled the creation of 14 dedicated rural clinical schools, with the establishment of significant tertiary infrastructure in rural Australia and the development of a strong network of academic rural clinicians. A number of alternative clinical training models have been piloted and found to be beneficial, including the Flinders University Parallel Rural Community Curriculum and other community-based training approaches. The successful provision of clinical training in the rural environment, evidenced by the academic results of RCS students in comparison with their urban counterparts, has demonstrated the validity of rurally-based clinical training.

It is too soon to determine whether this extended rural exposure through the RCSs has influenced medical students' actual decisions to practise rurally. However, there is anecdotal evidence that the presence of the RCSs has influenced the recruitment of new clinicians to rural practice, and also assisted with retention of current rural medical practitioners. Evidence of student career intentions is also encouraging. The early cohorts of the RCSs will soon be establishing themselves in medical practice and over the next few years it should be possible to analyse whether the number of RCStrained, rural doctors is increasing. Student tracking surveys should also enable longitudinal data to be collected with regard to RCS students and their later career decisions.

Challenges to the RCS Program, as for the UDRH Program, are the capacity of the health system to accommodate increasing student numbers, as well as recruitment of staff. The RCS Program faces an additional challenge due to the nature of medical training, as the number of rural internships, prevocation placements, and vocational training opportunities remain limited, potentially undoing the positive influence of the rural experience gained through the RCS placement if students find themselves spending extended periods back in the urban environment for pre-vocational and vocational training. The need to address this lack of capacity is pressing if the investment in the RCS Program is to be realised.