As the Eurobodalla steadily approaches the construction of its new regional hospital discussions begin to consider mechanisms that will also see nurses and doctors can be trained locally.
One solution being put forward mirrors the model that is now in place at the Bega hospital where medical students have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities such as working in local surgeries, attending hospital rounds, lectures and procedures. I
Teaching takes place at a dedicated Clinical Education Unit located within the grounds of the current Bega District Hospital providing access to a tutorial room and library as well as to facilities and equipment for practicing clinical skills.
The South East NSW Health Collaborative has proven to be a successful project providing training capabilities for learning and research in medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health.
The joint venture at Bega hospital, between the University of Canberra (UC) and The Australian National University (ANU), has already received several million in Federal funding for the clinical training facilities and it is hoped that relentless advocacy of Dr Michael Holland gains the attention it deserves in the halls of Macquarie Street and in Canberra.
As far back as February 2019 Dr Holland was writing to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison advising him that the Eurobodalla has established and maintains strong health education links with the Australian National University, the University of Wollongong and the University of Canberra.
The Prime Minister was told that medical, nursing and allied health students are trained locally in a hope that ultimately they be retained locally when the new Regional hospital is developed.
NSW Health has a well supported and functional Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) providing services across the state. With the establishment of a new hospital, accreditation is anticipated from specialist Colleges towards postgraduate specialist training positions for registrars in emergency medicine, medicine, surgery, anaesthetics, obstetrics & gynaecology and general practice proceduralists.
This need is well recognised in the Eurobodalla Clinical Service Plan March 2020. Version 3.
6.9 Education and training requirements
To align with the future service provisions and workforce requirements, Eurobodalla Health Service has to be in a position to offer skill development opportunities, access to training and education and opportunities to develop and introduce new ways of working in supported team-oriented services.
The promotion and engagement of external training providers currently ensures that the Health Service has pathways and opportunities available for staff:
· The current Australian National University (ANU) Medical School - Rural Clinical School is well established and graduates are returning to the area to establish careers.
· The newly established ANU Rural Training Hub is assisting the development of specialist medical (includes surgery and other) training pathways. The development of a specialist workforce will enable development of training as part of this hub.
· The Rural Generalist Program for training rural GPs (funded and governed by the Health Education and Training Institute NSW (HETI)), partnered with the Primary Health Network and GP training providers, is well established and as the Eurobodalla Health Service grows there will be more opportunities to train GPs in palliative care, emergency medicine, obstetrics and other skills.
· The commencement of a staff specialist FACEM and a VMO FACEM (emergency physician) will allow training for career medical officers, rural GPs and junior medical officers.
· Increased training and rotation opportunities will be sought from tertiary facilities as part of the MoU with ACT Health and other specialised networks. Visiting services from these networked facilities to Eurobodalla also provide the opportunity for mentoring and coaching on site.
Discussions are already in the pipework with Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland and Federal member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, saying they look forward to working in a bipartisan way with the health district, the relevant State ministers and agencies, and representatives of the Federal government along with the key education providers to achieve the trained personnel vital for the running of what will be a showcase Level 4 hospital for our region.
Above: AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen met with Moruya obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Michael Holland (March 2021)