WAGGA has another chance to snare more country doctors when it hosts 16 medical interns who will work at the base hospital and two general practices over the next two years.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner yesterday urged the community to make the young doctors feel welcome if they want them back as a specialist or general practitioner.
“I think it is a whole of community responsibility to show them how great it is to live in a community such as Wagga,” Ms Skinner said.
The interns, who have finished medical school, must work in hospitals for a year before becoming qualified medical practitioners.
Wagga Base Hospital has signed the 16 interns to two-year contracts and they will work as junior registered medical officers in their second year.
They will be part of a record 850 interns who will work in 49 hospitals and 15 general practices throughout NSW in 2012.
The interns coming to Wagga next month will also work at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and gain further experience in general practice in the Peter Street Medical Centre and Glenrock Country Practice.
The director of post graduate training for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and executive medical director of Wagga Base Hospital, Professor Graeme Richardson, said the interns coming to Wagga had indicated a preference for working in a rural area.
Many have studied medicine in regional areas, including four who have been through the University of NSW’s rural clinical school in Wagga and another four who completed the University of Wollongong’s medical course.
According to Professor Richardson, opportunities for young people to undertake medical training in rural areas are increasing, and with that comes the likelihood of more doctors practising in country areas.
“At the moment, we have five or six medical students who have come back and are now resident in the Riverina,” Professor Richardson said.
Wagga surgeon Richard Harrison was raised at Singleton and spent 11 years in the city after becoming a qualified doctor before returning to the country.
“Compared to when I was a medical student 20 years ago there are many more opportunities,” Mr Richardson said.