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"Where the rainforest meets the reef"

Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton TablelandsCairns is the second largest city outside of the south-east corner of the state with a population of approximately 220,000.  Cairns is often referred to as "where the rainforest meets the reef" and is an extremely popular tourist destination.  In addition to being the gateway for the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, Cairns is also only a stone's throw away from beautiful Port Douglas, Mission Beach, the Tablelands and Cape Tribulation. The hospital is Australia’s first large-scale regional Digital Hospital, leading the way in health care information and technology.

Pixies Garden, Great Barrier Reef, Tropical North Queensland. Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland. Photo: Chris McLennanThe Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) situated 1800 km north of Brisbane is responsible for the delivery of Health Services in a geographical area of 141,000 square kilometres which extends to the Tablelands, up to the Daintree, down to Tully and across to Croydon (an area approximately the size of the UK or twice the size of Tasmania) and includes a number of smaller hospitals - Yarrabah, Gordonvale, Innisfail, Atherton, Mareeba, Herberton, Tully and Babinda and a Multipurpose Health Centre at Mossman. The HHS outer western region encompasses extremely remote communities.  To support Queensland Health’s Rural Generalist Pathway the CHHHS has been selected as a Rural Generalist Training Hospital. The original inhabitants of the Cairns Region were the Kuku Yulanji people, the Tjapukai people and the Walubara Yidinji people. It is estimated that 9% of the population are Indigenous Australian, compared to 3.5% for Queensland as a whole.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service is a dynamic and diverse working environment that is committed to delivering excellent service, to attracting talented specialists and to providing dedicated training and support to the Junior Medical workforce, all in one of the most beautiful locations in Australia.

Click here to find out more about the region or watch some YouTube video footage of this fabulous location!

The Intern Experience

Compulsory Terms

  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Medicine as General Medicine/MAU, Renal, Thoracic, Gastroenterology and Acute Geriatrics
  • Surgery - Available as: General Surgery and General Orthopaedics

Non-Compulsory Terms

In addition to the compulsory terms there are a variety of non-compulsory, full and half terms:

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • ICU: limited availability for Interns
  • General Orthopaedics
  • Mental Health
  • General Surgery
  • General Medicine, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Infectious Diseases, Rehabilitation
  • Sexual Health
  • Atherton Hospital (Rural Hospital Term)
  • Mareeba Hospital (Rural Hospital Term)
  • Babinda Multi-purpose Health Service
  • Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS)

Prospective interns can indicate their preferences for terms and the timing of their holidays prior to arrival.

Resident Medical Officer Terms include all of the above with the exception of Sexual Health.  We also have a number of RMO rural terms in Thursday Island, Cooktown, Weipa, Innisfail, Mareeba, and Mossman.


As with most other Queensland hospitals this occurs during the week before the start of Term 1. The orientation experience will include time spent in the same area that you will be working in during Term 1.


Supervision, observation, feedback and assessment are an integral part of your training. You will have a nominated Term Supervisor who is responsible for the completion of your term assessment.

Weekly Education Sessions

Formal teaching - occurs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch time which is also phone-free time. These sessions consist of formal presentations, practical workshops, Intern presentations and case-based discussions.

The Skills Centre - The hospital's Simulation Centre is used for patient scenarios.

Intern Extras

  • Relocation expenses - Accommodation up to 21 nights, Flights/Driving expenses and relocation of possessions may be negotiated for interns relocating from outside of Cairns
  • Accommodation - High quality and affordable rental accommodation that is close to the Cairns Hospital is plentiful

Resident Medical Officers

RMO Teaching

A dedicated teaching program is facilitated by the Prevocational Medical Education Unit. Sessions are held fortnightly.

Last updated: 21 February 2020