Community groups came together at Café Galia on Wednesday night to welcome GP registrars and other health professionals working and training in Moree.
Hosted by local general practice training provider, GP Synergy, 60 attended the event with representatives from Moree Plains Shire Council, Moree Hospital, the Rural Doctors Network, Medicare Local, Chamber of Commerce, local schools, general practices and healthcare services.
According to GP Synergy Chief Executive Officer, John Oldfield, the number of doctors being recruited to train as GPs in the New England/Northwest region has increased rapidly in the past seven years.
“In 2009 the annual intake of registrars into the region was 10. In 2015, this number more than tripled to 37 – the highest intake the region has experienced,” says Mr Oldfield.
“GP registrars now make up nearly every two of ten GPs in the region, contributing enormously to the primary healthcare provision in local rural communities.”
There are currently 53 GP registrars training across the New England/Northwest with seven GP registrars training in Moree.
One of these GP registrars is Dr Robert Page, who has recently started working at the Pius X Aboriginal Medical Service.
Dr Page said he has wanted to work in an Aboriginal medical service ever since graduating from medical school.
“I spent two eight week placements Aboriginal medical services in small communities (Halls Creek, WA and Alyangula, NT) while a medical student and really enjoyed my time in both,” says Dr Page.
“I was struck by both the variety and severity of pathology, by the burden of chronic disease and reduced lifespan, but also by how keen and hardworking all the clinic staff were with regards to reducing these factors and providing the best care possible.
“I’d considered for some time heading overseas to do aid work, but figured that when these kinds of health issues are so prevalent in our own backyard, I’d be better off heading out rurally and seeing how things were at home.”
Although it can be challenging moving to a small town and not knowing anyone, Dr Page said the Moree community has been very friendly.
“I’ve found everyone really welcoming,” he says. “It’s a gorgeous town with lots going on and heaps of fun things to do around the area.
“I’m having a great time.”
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