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10 new doctors starting work in Torres and Cape

22 February 2019

Ten new doctors have started work in the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area and Cape
York regions.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr Tony Brown said the 10 new doctors replaced staff who were moving on to new positions elsewhere.

“We have been able easily to recruit replacement doctors so that our medical services can continue to be delivered seamlessly throughout our region, Dr Brown said.

“This is due to the fact our health service is as an increasingly attractive career path for both senior and junior doctors looking for new challenges, thanks to a comprehensive support program we have in place for all our medical staff.

“Many of our doctors, for instance, are either graduates of, or undertaking, Queensland’s nationally recognised Rural Generalist Pathway program.

“Many are also either working towards or already have accreditation through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and we support them through both programs.’’

Dr Brown said the Torres and Cape HHS currently had 46 full and part-time doctors in total, in addition to a number of junior doctors and medical students rotating through the region for short placements of several week at a time.

“We have 25 full and part-time doctors in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area, 11 in the eastern sector of Cape York based in Cooktown and six in the western sector based in Weipa,’’ he said.

“We also have myself as overall health service director of medical services, as well as three specialist visiting medical officers who deliver services to our region – a paediatrician and two tuberculosis specialists.’’

Northern Director of Medical Services Dr Marlow Coates said the Torres Strait and NPA doctors included four at Bamaga, one on Badu Island and two on Mer Island, with the remainder on Thursday Island and working right across the region.

Eastern Director of Medical Services Dr Tash Coventry said four new full and part-time doctors had joined the team based in Cooktown and delivering services through to Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal and Laura.

“We now have a total of 11 full and part-time doctors in the eastern sector, which is double what we had 10 years ago and indicative of the significant increase in public medical services now available in the region,’’ she said.

“As well as inpatient and emergency services, we also have a growing team of Rural Generalists who provide primary health and general practice services in addition to Indigenous health, obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health, mental health and anaesthetic services.

“Over the past few years, we have developed a steady program of building medical services locally so that we can look after more people closer to home.’’

Western Director of Medical Services Dr Nick Cairns said there were no changes to the 6 full and part-time Weipa-based senior doctors this year, as all had decided to stay in the region and no replacements had needed to be recruited.

“We provide a good working environment in Weipa and all our senior doctors have been keen to stay on,’’ he said.

“We will also be adding an additional seventh senior doctor around mid-year to manage a new outreach renal model of care that we are planning to start delivering to communities along the western cape.’’

NOTE: Established in 2007, the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway provides medical
graduates with a supported training pathway to acquire additional specialist skills for a career in
rural medicine, thereby providing rural and remote communities with a highly skilled medical

PHOTO CAPTION: Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Tony Brown.

Last updated: 3 April 2019