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Biloela Hospital gains training status for rural doctors

3 April 2018

A new medical model will ensure Biloela Hospital has a full-time permanent staff of doctors for the first time in 10 years.

CQ Health Chief Executive Steve Williamson is delighted the hospital has gained accreditation for Generalist Medical Training (GMT) through James Cook University, allowing the hospital to train the next generation of doctors specialising in rural medicine.

“The hospital hasn’t been able to attract a full-time doctor and has relied on locum medical staff for at least 10 years,” Mr Williamson said. “This new model of care will secure the sustainability of the medical workforce into the future.”

The first rural generalist trainee under the program, Dr Angela Barrie, has started work at Biloela Medical Centre and is looking forward to her first shifts at the hospital in the next few weeks.

Dr Barrie grew up in Mackay and has chosen the rural generalist pathway to enable variety in her practice, which includes advanced skills in obstetrics and gynaecology.

“I liked the idea of doing a bit of everything rather than specialising in just one area,” she said. “This way I can be a GP in a rural or regional area and I can do broader-based GP medicine including antenatal care and then follow through with delivering babies at the hospital as well.”

Dr Barrie has been made very welcome in her first few months in Biloela. “Everybody’s been very friendly and excited there’s a new doctor,” she said.

Rural generalist trainees are fully qualified doctors who will come to Biloela after working at least three years in a tertiary hospital, bringing with them a wealth of experience in their chosen field.

They will have an advanced skill in either obstetrics or anaesthetics, which will mean birthing services in Biloela are strengthened and “future-proofed”.

“Rural generalists will be trained and ready to face the challenges of providing high quality health care in a rural environment,” Mr Williamson said.

They will finish their primary rural and remote training over a two-year period across Biloela Medical Centre and Biloela Hospital before becoming fully qualified rural generalists with a Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

A further three doctors are due to start in the program in February 2019.

“Accreditation with GMT means that Biloela will be a training pipeline for our future doctors, securing a sustainable medical workforce into the future,” Mr Williamson said.

Last updated: 30 August 2018

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