Thirty-two new medical graduates started work with Goulburn Valley Health this year, becoming part of the hospital’s workforce but more broadly the wider community.
About 600 graduates apply for the positions each year and are judged on university scores, resumes and references.
GV Health intern training director Carolyn Kamenjarin told The News earlier this year ‘‘a significant proportion’’ are retained.
How many doctors do stay on and continue to work for Goulburn Valley Health after their graduate year?
How many remain in the Shepparton community?
More importantly, how can we encourage junior doctors to remain in rural areas?
The flow-on benefits of having highly skilled, intelligent young people in our region, contributing to the betterment of our community cannot be understated.
A new initiative, reported on in The News today (page 6), aims to address this challenge.
A training hub, at the University of Melbourne’s Rural Clinical School, was introduced late last year, a result of a successful funding bid.
The hub for junior doctors has already had success.
Three new funded registrar posts in the region, focused on psychiatry, as well as funding to provide supervisor training for clinicians has been secured.
The Rural Clinical School’s head, Julian Wright, said there were plenty of posts available for second and third-year doctors.
‘‘The money is already there for them, but what’s not happened in the past is that nobody has said ‘well, you’re a junior doctor who wants to stay here, let’s link up some of those posts’,’’ he said.
The proposal to have junior doctors to complete an intern year at GV Health, stay there for another year, then have a third year of training at Echuca or Wangaratta, is beneficial to all.
Security of employment for junior doctors, plus more enthusiastic and fresh ideas for our local hospitals at a lesser wage.
Not to mention the wider indirect benefits for our region, having young people live, work and wanting to be in Shepparton.
The News agrees with Mr Wright when he says: ‘‘the importance of these new initiatives to the region is massive’’.
Coupled with our redeveloped multi-million dollar hospital, Graham St will be a hub of activity.
Something Greater Shepparton should be proud of.