Interns get a taste of rural life

Eight junior doctors are currently getting a taste of what it’s like to practice in a rural area through the Grampians Medical Training Program, based in Ararat.

East Grampians Health Service welcomed the interns in January 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, including Deakin University, Monash University, Melbourne University and Notre Dame University.

All are now working in their first year as doctors after medical school.

At East Grampians Health Service, the interns will work on a rotation through the operating theatre and at the Ararat Medical Centre GP clinic.

Manager of Development and Improvement, and Junior Medical Officer Manager, Sarah Woodburn, said the program is all about GP rotation and enabling the interns to do everything a rural GP does, including working as a GP obstetrician, anaesthetist and in the hospital.

“The idea is by training doctors in rural areas they are more likely to want to stay and practice in rural areas,” Ms Woodburn said.

“It’s all about increasing our medical workforce for the future.”

East Grampians Health Service 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.

EGHS has been part of the intern program for three years and the number of interns has increased from five last year to eight in 2017.

All are Victorian trained and this year Ararat Medical Centre has come on board for the first time, hosting one of the rotations.

Pictured above (L-R):  Dr Monisha Pillay, Dr In Young Chung, supervisor intern training Associate Professor Andrew Dean, junior medical officer manager Sarah Woodburn, Dr Blessed Khutlo, Dr Cherry Talavera, Dr Lewis Murray, Dr Seraphina Bloor, Dr Graham Spencer and Dr Jessica Attenborough