ON THE JOB: Student doctors Harry Theile and Jack De Guingand have wrapped up an eight-week placement at Theodore Medical Centre.
ON THE JOB: Student doctors Harry Theile and Jack De Guingand have wrapped up an eight-week placement at Theodore Medical Centre. Contributed

This $200,000 job is up for grabs

JOB VACANCY: Quiet country town lifestyle in Central Queensland, friendly community, $120,000 per year plus $70,000 car and on-call allowance.

Yet the hospital and health service is unable to find somebody to take up a private and public doctor position at Baralaba since the job became vacant last year.

The situation is not dissimilar to health professional deficiencies in other rural towns throughout Central Queensland and while nobody is panicking yet, current band aid solutions are not made for the long term.

"Baralaba had a doctor there for the last 10 years who was very good but he left so we are a bit stuck with just locums at the moment," state-wide Rural and Remote Clinical Network chair Dr Bruce Chater (pictured) said.

"It's working but with training provided and the workforce agency, we are trying to get Baralaba to be attractive to young doctors."

Dr Chater, the medical superintendent with right to private practice at Theodore and with 35 years' experience under his stethoscope, said permanent doctors were always the ideal solution for rural towns.

"You can see a difference it makes when a patient comes in with a glum look on their face, you can say if something is getting them down," he said.

"A locum won't necessarily pick that up as well as a permanent doctor who gets to know the patients.

"The best thing about having permanent doctors is they don't think about patient care in a normal way, they have an above average expectation of care and sometimes I think that's the benefit."

He said while the job, and others in its field, came with a tempting pay packet, it was a challenging position which demanded the right person with the right qualifications and experience.

"A GP in the city works nine to five and closes up shop at the end of the day but for two thirds of the day they aren't available where a rural GP is," he said.

"It's the fact there is always a bit of uncertainty in the back of your mind, that a call could come at any time.

"If people are ringing at midnight for trivial things, that's not going to attract them."

It is a challenge student doctors Jack De Guingand and Harry Theile had a taste of for the past eight weeks.

The pair yesterday headed back to the city following a rotational placement at Theodore Medical Centre but with a combined 10 from 13 years at university between them, both young professionals said the experience was a valuable asset to their study.

"I think it's really important, it gives people something very different to what they are used to," Mr Theile said.

"It has given (students) a sense of rural medicine and opens their eyes, making them more likely to come back in the future because there is a real need for doctors in country towns."

Mr De Guingand said it was Dr Chater's wealth of experience and reputation which drew him to the Banana Shire.

"There is a bit of a catch cry, that rural doctors are a jack of all trades and a master of none, but it's still always better to be a master at one," he said.

"I think it's an invaluable experience and every student should at least do a rotation out here, we've had the opportunity to develop both our practical and patient skills.

"It's a pretty stressful job for a young doctor, but if you look at Bruce, he's adapted to it.

"We definitely get to see a lot more out here."

Key findings

Medical practice in remote, rural and regional Queensland, minimum date set 2014 found

Queensland had the second largest remote, rural and regional medical workforce in Australia.

Queensland experienced a 9.7 percent increase in remote, rural and regional medical

Practitioners in 2014 compared to the previous reporting period.


Meet the world record breaking seven-year-old

Meet the world record breaking seven-year-old

When Joshua Williams sets his mind to something he will achieve it.

PHOTO GALLERY: Towns pause for Anzac Day services

PHOTO GALLERY: Towns pause for Anzac Day services

Rolling coverage of Anzac Day services throughout the South Burnett.

Injured driver fined over Murgon collision

Injured driver fined over Murgon collision

Magistrate: That second look would have saved a lot of the pain.

Local Partners