Programs at PDH Exposes Doctors to Rural Living

Dr Brendan Condon - Director of Medical Services at PDH
Thursday, 20 August 2015
Portland District Health is laying the groundwork for a future medical workforce with its involvement in a new GP training program.

For the first time PDH is taking part in the PGY2 (post graduate year 2) program which will expose 10 young doctors to living and working in Portland during 2015.

PDH Director of Medical Services Dr Brendan Condon said it was part of a training pipeline aimed to encourage more doctors to work in the region.

We host two at a time, one in medicine and one in surgery, over five rotations per year, which means 10 young doctors are being exposed to living and working in Portland,Dr Condon said.

The idea is to develop their skills, hope they enjoy the experience of working here and that some, down the line, will stay on.

Following on from the establishment of the Deakin University clinical school at Warrnambool Base Hospital, a regional approach to training procedural GPs has been established with co-operation between PDH, South West Healthcare and Western District Health Service. Thanks to this program, most of the PGY2 doctors coming to PDH have come from being interns or medical students at Warrnambool.

Traditionally training has been in Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat but there is now demand further afield with programs in several regional areas.

The program gives young doctors an opportunity to do some procedural work, such as obstetrics and surgery. Ideally we will have them come from being medical students to become GPs with a special interest and hopefully retain them in the region,Dr Condon said.

Because there are few specialists in rural hospitals, there are clear advantages in developing General Practitioners with extra skills in anaesthetics, surgical skills such as skin lump removals, obstetrics, paediatrics or extended emergency skills.

This training will expose a group of young doctors to the region and aims to bring greatly needed medical skills to regional communities.

This regional training program is already having an impact. Several doctors, who began their careers as interns at South West Healthcare, in Warrnambool, have stayed on to work in the region.

It's shaping up well at this stage,Dr Condon said. But we need to translate that into specialist GPs and surgeons working in Portland and the region.

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