Through the Grampians Rural Generalist Intern Training Program, based in Ararat, eight junior doctors are currently experiencing what it is like to practice and live in rural areas.
East Grampians Health Service has welcomed the interns through a partnership with St John of God Ballarat, Maryborough District Health Service, and three GP clinics including the Ararat Medical Centre, Nightingale Medical Centre and Clarendon Medical Centre, both in Maryborough.
The eight interns completed their training in various universities across the country.
All are now working in their first year as doctors after medical school.
At East Grampians Health Service, many of the interns will work on a rotation through the operating theatres and at the Ararat Medical Centre.
Junior Medical workforce Manager and Victorian Rural Generalist Coordinator (Grampians region), Kim Lane, said the program is all about increasing rural exposure and introducing them to a General Practice (GP) rotation.
“We aim to give our training doctors a true indication of what it is like to work as a rural GP in the practice and also including working as a GP obstetrician, GP anaesthetist in the hospital where local GPs have admitted patients,” Ms Lane said.
Ms Lane said all the rotations offer much more hands-on exposure in this small group setting compared to their metro and regional counterparts.
“By training doctors in rural areas and giving them great experiences, our hope is that they are more likely to want to continue to train rurally and ultimately work and settle in rural areas,” she said.
“It’s all about building and growing our medical workforce for the future.”
EGHS Chief Executive Nick Bush said the feedback the health service has been getting about the program is that it gives the interns hands on opportunities, which they rarely get in a metro area.
This is the ninth year EGHS has been training medical interns.
Through their second year of medical training the interns have the option to continue their rural generalist pathway and complete a term out to EGHS from their parent hospital, Grampians Heath Ballarat, working with the local GPs on the ward and in the Urgent Care Centre.