News

More doctors for Northern Rivers is good medicine

COUNTRY PRACTICE: Attracting and retaining more doctors to rural areas is the aim behind Lismore being named one of 26 rural areas to benefit from a Federal Government program.
COUNTRY PRACTICE: Attracting and retaining more doctors to rural areas is the aim behind Lismore being named one of 26 rural areas to benefit from a Federal Government program. Supplied

ATTRACTING and retaining more doctors to rural areas is the aim behind Lismore being named one of 26 rural areas to benefit from a Federal Government program.

The University of Sydney's University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore has won federal funding to establish a Rural Training Hub to boost rurally-based training and career pathways for trainee doctors and lift doctor numbers in the north coast region.

It's a hot topic, as in Ballina last month, a conference attracted 30 general practitioner supervisors from across the Northern Rivers, including Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Murwillumbah and Casino, at an intensive professional development workshop to better learn how to mentor a new cohort of GP registrars whom have recently commenced their GP training in the North Coast region.

Associate Professor Primary Health Care Research, Megan Passey said the new funding is part of a wider package of 26 newly funded Rural Training Hubs

Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie said the Rural Training Hubs are the first instalment of the government's three-part Integrated Rural Pipeline intended to attract and retain medical graduates in rural areas by better supporting the postgraduate training of junior doctors who want to become general practitioners and specialists.

The other components of the program are the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund to foster new ways of training rural interns, and an expansion of the Rural Specialist Training Program, which is funding 100 new training places in rural areas - 50 in 2017 and another 50 in 2018.

Deputy Director University Centre for Rural Health, Dr Michael Douglas, welcomed the new funding, saying:

"This new grant recognises the foresight of the Northern NSW Local Health District and the calibre of our local specialists. 

"The partnership between the Northern NSW Local Health District and the University of Sydney will help build the future specialist medical workforce for the region.

"It provides us with confidence that we can continue to meet the needs of our community for many years to come.

"This new initiative gives us a greater opportunity for medical students and trainee doctors to commit to working in our regions for the long term.”

The University Centre for Rural Health has been a presence in the region since 2001, training students in the disciplines of allied health, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry and medicine. 

It has campuses in Lismore, Grafton, Murwillumbah and Ballina.

Dean of Sydney Medical School, Professor Arthur Conigrave welcomed the new funding, saying:

"The University of Sydney has been a consistent advocate for the federal funding of postgraduate training in rural and regional hubs and is encouraged by the government's commitment to implement the Integrated Rural Training Program.

"This will be a joint effort between the University of Sydney's three Schools and Centres for Rural Health, Local Health Districts, The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and specialist colleges.

"Sydney Medical School has delivered rural medical education for more than two decades, and by the end of 2017 almost 1,000 Sydney students will have had a substantial rural experience. Currently one-third of all students in the Sydney Medical Program undertake an extended rural placement.”

Evidence shows that students who complete extended rural placements are more likely to seek a career in a rural area than either students who have not had such placements, or students who have a rural origin.

Ninety per cent of University of Sydney medical graduates who had completed an extended rural placement report that the experience had increased their interest in pursuing a medical career in rural or regional Australia.

Converting these students' positive intentions to become fully qualified rural doctors is a process of at least six to eight years of supervised vocational practice after graduation.

The most important factor in ensuring that rural medical workforce needs are met and sustained is the availability of a comprehensive and adequately supported rural training 'pipeline'," said Professor Conigrave.

"This must enable students interested in a rural career not only to obtain intern and residency posts, but also to progress through postgraduate specialty training, including rural generalist training, in appropriate rural and regional centres.”


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

River's health on the agenda

PUBLIC MEETING: The authors of report into the health of the Richmond River will discuss their findings with the community in Ballina tonight.

Issues affecting waterway to be discussed

Thumbs up to council for going chemical-free

To avoid having to spray with chemicals, patrol your vegetable garden regularly for weeds, pests and other nasties.

Byron is now on a path to zero chemical use in weed control.

Premier in town: Poor waterway health in spotlight

CELEBRATION: Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, announces funding for the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club for a new storage shed and gymnasium. Also pictured are surf club president Craig Nowlan (left) and Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin MLC.

Lightbulb moment at lifesaving clubhouse

Local Partners

Calls to ban the bag intensify on the Northern Rivers

BANNING single use plastic bags is gaining momentum as another council moves to scrap the environmentally unfriendly bags from its stores.

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

Kings of Vegas to reign in Ballina

KINGS OF VEGAS: Harrison Craig is bringing his Kings of Vegas show to the Ballina RSL Club in September. Tickets are on sale now.

Harrison Craig brings his latest show

Ninja Warrior airs clips of dead contestant Johann Ofner

CLIPS of a Ninja Warrior contestant who died before the series aired were shown during the final, leaving viewers confused.

Meet 7 of the Fraser Coast's most eligible bachelors

Fraser Coast eligible bachelor - Bobbi Depp.

Are you single and looking for love?

Justin Bieber speaks after cancelling 14 concerts

Helal’s selfie with Bieber

So is he starting his own church or not?

Kendall Jenner's raunchy pose could breach standards

Kendall Jenner

Other celebs including Rita Ora, Bella Hadid posted similar shots.

The best and worst reality TV coming

Matty J in a scene from episode two of The Bachelor.

Reality TV bonanza as Hell’s Kitchen, The Block and Survivor launch.

Singer Dr G. Yunupingu dies aged 46

World famous blind Aboriginal singer Dr G. Yunupingu passed away in Darwin yesterday. Picture: Supplied.

“Today we mourn the loss of a great Australian..."

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!