How a training program is bringing doctors to the region

HERE TO STAY: District Director of Medical Services Dr Greg Coffey with Orthopedic Doctor Edward King.
HERE TO STAY: District Director of Medical Services Dr Greg Coffey with Orthopedic Doctor Edward King. Eliza Wheeler

OVERSEAS-trained doctors like orthopedic doctor Edward King from the Philippines are lining up to be trained in Fraser Coast hospitals, thanks to a program available nowhere else in Queensland.

In an attempt to encourage more overseas-trained doctors to stay and work in the region, Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals are offering an Australian Medical Council's Workplace-Based Assessment program.

The program allows the doctors to work under supervision and receive assessment over a 12-month period.

For Dr King and other overseas-trained doctors, the program provided an alternative way to receive his full Australian registration, aside from the standard exam, with a fail rate as high as 80%.

After spending two years training and working in Hervey Bay, Dr King has decided to stay in the region as a registered doctor.

"I live here now, I recently got my own place," Dr King said.

"I'd like to stay here long-term, but nothing's set in stone."

WBHHS District Director of Medical Services Dr Greg Coffey played a major role in setting up the program on the Fraser Coast, after seeing how successful it had been in other states.

He said like all rural and regional parts of Australia, Fraser Coast hospitals struggled to hold on to their permanent doctors.

He said since the assessment program started on the Fraser Coast two years ago, the number of overseas-trained doctors staying in the region had improved.

"We're able to attract skilled doctors to contribute to local healthcare, which is not always easy in a regional setting," Dr Coffey said.

"In some cases, as we see here, they become attached to the area and we are able to increase our permanent bank of highly trained medical practitioners."

Topics:  employment, fraser coast, health, hospital, immigration, wbhhs

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