Doctors training to become GPs were warmly welcomed by local member, Kevin Anderson MP, at a community networking event held at the Tamworth Community Centre on Wednesday night.
The event was hosted by local general practice training provider, GP Synergy, the New England Medicare Local, and Tamworth Council to raise the profile amongst local community groups of the need to support doctors during their training.
More than 60 attended the event, including GP registrars and other health professionals, as well as representatives from the Tamworth Multicultural Incorporation, the Lioness Club, the Tamworth Chamber of Commerce, the Rural Doctors Network, local schools and general practices.
According to GP Synergy CEO, Mr John Oldfield, there are currently 42 GP registrars training in the New England/Northwest region, with 22 in Tamworth.
Of the Tamworth based doctors, 13 are training in general practice facilities, and nine at Tamworth Hospital; including some in procedural skills training placements in anaesthesia and obstetrics.
Mr Oldfield said the community plays a significant role in helping retain these doctors in the region after they complete their training.
“The GP registrar cohort is very diverse, with registrars coming from a range of backgrounds and different levels of familiarity with the region.”
“As the GP training program requires registrars to undertake their training across the New England/Northwest region, even a registrar who grew up in the area may need help settling into a new town,” said Mr Oldfield.
Based on data collected over the last five years, Mr Oldfield said the retention rate of registrars staying on in the region after training was 51%. This included doctors who had previous ties with the region prior to training, as well as those that did not.
“Making registrars and their families feel welcome and supported in rural communities will enhance the likelihood of them staying and settling in the region for the longer term,” he said.
Tamworth Deputy Mayor Russell Webb agreed, and called for registrars to contact local Councillors to let them know how they can be better supported within the Tamworth community.
Further community networking events will be held across the region in Armidale, Inverell and Moree in the coming weeks.
High resolution images available on request
Above – L to R: Kevin Anderson MP with GP Synergy CEO, Mr John Oldfield
Above – L to R: GP Synergy CEO, Mr John Oldfield addressing the group
Above – L to R: Attendees at the community networking event