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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 09:33

Local doctors represent region at conference

The joint Rural Medicine Australia (RMA) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) Medical Conference was held in Melbourne from October 19 to 21, and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service attended in its capacity as a leading regional health service, hosting an information booth and also supporting staff members to attend for professional development purposes. More than 14 Bairnsdale and district doctors, from Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and local GP clinics, attended the conference. East Gippsland was the best represented location at the conference from all of Australia, which speaks to the dedication of the local medical community to their professional development. Training and development was held on a number of topics, including sports medicine, rehabilitation, concussion management, safety and quality in health care, ENT emergency management, palliative care, cervical cancer prevention, management of thunderstorm asthma, and much more. The conference was also an opportunity for rural medical advocacy and included the announcement of the new National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley, who has been tasked with improving rural health policies. The appointment of a National Rural Health Commissioner was promised by the Coalition during last year’s election. Professor Worley’s first priority will be to develop National Rural Generalist Pathways. Rural Generalists are trained in multiple medical facets, so they are skilled in a number of key areas.

These multi-skilled doctors are required in rural and regional Australia, in order to effectively service the health needs of these populations, and provide as much local access as possible. “I am confident that this will be a way of bringing together groups that have been engaged in rural and health advocacy, in research, in training development, to actually achieve what has been an aspiration for a couple of decades – a sustainable workforce for rural Australia,” Professor Worley said. BRHS chief executive officer, Therese Tierney, fully supports the appointment of a National Rural Health Commissioner. “Bairnsdale Regional Health Service is committed to training the next generation of rural and regional practitioners, and to that end is accredited as a training site with the Post Graduate Medical Council of Victoria, and with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, for both Emergency and Acute Internal Medicine. BRHS also provides placement for Medical Students, fostering a positive rural experience early in their career.” When BRHS opens its high dependency unit in 2018, the local community will be able to access higher acuity care, closer to home. “Further opportunities for training and upskilling will also arise from our new High Dependency Unit, and we are poised to take advantage of these. The benefits both to the local community, and to the sustainability of the rural medical workforce community, will be numerous,” Ms Tierney said.