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Proactively addressing doctor shortage

A concerted effort to increase the number of doctors available in the region could soon start paying dividends.

For the next fortnight, Finley is hosting a second-year student doctor from the Charles Sturt University’s School of Rural Medicine.

The student will be working alongside Dr Alam Yoosuff at Finley Hospital and Finley Medical Centre, gaining hands on experience in rural medicine and building relationships within the community.

Another student has also recently completed their placement in Finley.

Either one or both of these student doctors could potentially be assigned to continue their studies in Finley for the last three years of the course.

School of Rural Medicine associate dean Damien Limberger said the aim of the school is to take rural based students, train them in rural medicine and provide them with the skills to provide primary care in any district hospital or GP clinic.

“The students do basic sciences in Orange in years one and two, and then finish their training in rural communities,” he siad.

“They then go on to become junior doctors, so it’s a 10 year process in the end.

“The Riverina Clinical School services Finley, Wagga Wagga and Temora and will be taking approximately five students per year.

“We are in discussions with other communities and will be adding to our number of towns.

“We are changing the model of medical training, aligned to where the workforce is needed.

“There is a mass shortage of GPs, and it is probably going to get worse.

“We have a social obligation to design a program to train the workforce needed.

“A lot of programs don’t do this early training, which allows the students to get an understanding for the role and the variety in rural medicine.”