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Bundaberg’s medical workforce has expanded with the arrival of 10 new doctors as part of a James Cook University (JCU) program that is training general practitioners (GP) across north western Queensland.
Bundaberg Doctor Akila Ratnavadivel is part of a cohort of more than 130 doctors state-wide who were inducted into JCU’s specialist GP training program, Generalist Medical Training (GMT) last month.
The doctors fill much-needed places in clinics and hospitals across regional and remote Queensland.
Dr Ratnavadivel will undertake her training at Jacaranda General Practice, and is looking forward to living and working in the region, after recently making the move from Brisbane.
“I’m looking forward getting to know the people of Bundaberg, and developing my own style of practice,” Dr Ratnavadivel said.
Dr Ratnavadivel brings two years of postgraduate training in hospital rotations in Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Brisbane to her new role, as well as a stint at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
“The past year allowed me to work with more specialists, help manage more complicated and critical patients and bring back invaluable experience that can only be gained by working at a tertiary centre,” she said.
Originally from Canada, where she completed her honours in neuroscience, Dr Ratnavadivel had always aspired to become a GP and made the move to Australia to study medicine.
“I wanted to practice preventative medicine, have an ongoing relationship with my patients and be able to see them through their good days and support them through their bad ones,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to getting to follow-up with my patients long enough to see outcomes with interventions. This will be the biggest difference from acute care where we often didn’t know what happened after a patient left hospital.
“I also love the variety in General Practice, and being able to do a little of everything in my scope.”
GMT Director, Associate Professor Peta-Ann Teague said the new training GPs will help to fill workforce gaps in many parts of Queensland.
“JCU has coordinated the placement of new doctors from Thursday Island to Tewantin, Mount Isa to Maroochydore, and Cairns to Cloncurry,” Associate Professor Teague said.
"We dedicate time and resources to matching applicants with training posts that will benefit their careers as well as the community. The training posts in our region provide the opportunity to develop an extended scope of practice that goes beyond urban, office-based general practice," she said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing these enthusiastic doctors make a real difference in their communities, particularly those communities who most need them. JCU has a strong record of producing a skilled workforce for northern Australia and this new cohort of GPs will add to that legacy."
GMT is JCU’s specialist training program for medical graduates pursuing a career in General Practice. JCU is contracted by the Australian Department of Health to deliver the AGPT program in North Western Queensland. For more information about Generalist Medical Training, visit www.gmt.edu.au
Image 1: Dr Akila Ratnavadivel is looking forward to a rewarding career as a GP in Bundaberg.