CONCERNS from the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health in Orange about a lack of rural intern placements were answered with Orange Health Service’s latest intake of 18 junior medical officers (JMOs).
The number is two higher than last year’s intake, one at the health service’s request and the other was allocated through the Aboriginal medical workforce pathway.
Health service medical administration manager Sallyanne Shuttleworth said there was high demand for places with a 70 per cent retention rate across the Western health district once the two-year contracts were up.
“We had 120 to 130-something applications and interviewed 86 for 17 positions,” she said.
General manager Catherine Nowlan said as the number of specialists employed by the hospital grew, intern capacity also increased.
Among the JMOs were Jason Sines and Amie Osborne.
Dr Sines, 24, grew up in Ballina before studying at the University of NSW and he secured his placement through the indigenous program.
He was shocked by the health statistics for indigenous people and hoped he could make a difference.
“I’ve been talking with the [Orange Aboriginal Medical Service] and I’m interested in getting involved that way as well,” he said.
Dr Sines hoped to one day specialise as a GP or an internal physician.
Dr Osborne, 28, is no stranger to Orange, having moved to the area when she was 12, attending Kinross Wolaroi School before attending university in Sydney.
“Somewhere like Westmead Hospital has 120 interns, Orange has 17, so you get to do a lot more, you get to speak to a lot more doctors,” she said.
She wanted to pursue either critical care or paediatrics, which she believed she could not pursue rurally.
“It would be interesting to see whether there are any changes in those areas – it’s frustrating not to have a choice,” she said.
Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless hoped the JMOs would remain in regional practice.
“What we need to do is make sure there are more young doctors coming into regional NSW to do their internships, to learn to love the bush and there’s no better place to live and work for a couple of years than a town like Orange.”