Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway Newsletter Edition 34 (July 2021)

Tasmanian Rural Generalist Program

In This Edition:

  • Director Farewell
  • Future Rural Generalist - Dr Alex Kear
  • Scottsdale RG training site
  • New RMO and Registrar Training positions for 2022
  • New rural GP RMO rotations for 2022
  • Tasmanian Rural Generalist Scholarships 2021 now open

From the DirectorDr Peter Arvier

It is with much sadness that I write to let you know this will be my last newsletter.  My appointment as Director, Rural Pathways position finishes on 31 July.  Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in getting a new appointment.  The Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway has progressed significantly from where it was when I started 2½ years ago - especially with longer term funding and the creation of specific RG rotations in the hospital system, additional PGY2 rural GP rotations, and new Advanced/Additional Skills training opportunities. It is now possible for the TRGP to offer an "end to end" RG pathway. (See elsewhere in this newsletter for more information on the new rotations and training opportunities being developed).

Across Tasmania, there are now approximately 40 junior doctors and registrars at various points along the Rural Generalist Pathway.

The new governance structure is now in place and the first meeting of the Tasmanian RG Collaborative Group was held in Launceston on 2nd June.  There has been strong interest from our ‘collaborative’ to work together to advance key projects of interest to them.  Progress also continues on the development of the National Rural Generalist Pathway with regular meetings of all state and territory jurisdictions to chart the way forward, share information and agree on a common approach to the opportunities and challenges we encounter.

To assist with all these activities, we have recently welcomed two new part time members to the TRGP team.  Elaine Marshall joined us in May as Project and Policy Coordinator and Jodie Evertsen joined us earlier this month as the Project Officer, Marketing, Media and Communications.

It's an exciting time to be part of the TRGP and I sincerely hope it goes from strength to strength and builds on the work already done.

The new Director will be Professor Lizzi Shires who is currently Director of the Rural Clinical School. Lizzi will commence at the end of August and will be continuing in the RCS role in addition to taking on the Director, Rural Pathways role.

Dr Peter Arvier – Director, Rural Pathways

Future Rural Generalist - Dr Alex Kear

Alex Kear'As the Tasmanian Rural Generalist Scholarship recipient, I have had the opportunity to spend the last two and a half months in Queenstown as the Hospital and Ochre Health GP intern.

This has only been my second rotation, and I can already see the differences from tertiary hospital work. I’m having more patient contact, more hands-on care, more variety, but more health issues in the population too. These aspects have been great, and I have really seen and contributed a lot to the patients of the town just by being here, and that’s such a fulfilling experience. I’ve developed good rapport with some of them too, and have a little following in the clinic, which has been very rewarding.

The hospital work is a mix of Medical ward and ED type work, but on a much smaller scale than NWRH. Having a patient load of maximum 6 patients is great - unless I’m discharging them all on the same day!  There is less administrative work, but also less time overall to get things done in the day, and less support services than in a bigger hospital.  Days that I’m fully booked in GP and have multiple emergency patients to see can be quite demanding. The medical students can be really helpful for this however - and learn a lot in the process too.

Overall, my experience in Queenstown has been very valuable and rewarding. I’m getting to extend my clinical skills in a way that isn’t so available to junior doctors in a larger hospital. I’m looking forward to having more experiences like this in the future’!

Rural Generalist Training in Scottsdale, North East Tasmania - Profile by Dr Ben Dodds

The main industries in Scottsdale are farming, both livestock and vegetables, plus an ever growing tourism industry based around the mountain biking tracks that surround the district. This makes for very interesting medicine with no one day the same!

Ochre Medical Scottsdale and the North Eastern Soldiers Memorial Hospital serve a surrounding population of about 6500 people. The hospital has 18 inpatient beds and a three bed Emergency Department. Most GPs working in the practice also participate in the VMO roster, where the doctor provides emergency and inpatient care for a 24-hour period, approximately one day per week.

All the VMO doctors participate in daily handover and ward rounds.

The Emergency Department can get very busy with up to 15 presentations a day plus transfers from the LGH for sub-acute care. There is a healthy mix of acute trauma (thanks to the mountain bikers), critical care presentation and stabilisation and acute deterioration in chronic diseases.

The General Practice is also quite busy and there is a strong ethos of collaboration and learning. The GP Registrars are led by 2019 Rural Doctor of the Year Dr Nat Burch who has worked in Scottsdale for 20+ years. She has developed a model of supervision that gives unparalleled access to advice and support as a Registrar for both the general practice and hospital. There is an emphasis on teaching with integration of medical student, intern, RMO and registrars at scheduled teaching sessions. The practice is well supported by an excellent team of nursing staff and practice management. Fatigue management and innovation are major themes for the practice.

The North East/Dorset municipality is a very welcoming community with plenty to see and do when not working including Bridport, Barnbougle, various mountain biking tracks, floating sauna at Derby, the little Blue Lake, various coffee shops, pubs, a gin distillery, a local brewery and sporting clubs.

Dr Ben Dodds is a Rural Generalist Registrar based in Scottsdale, in Tasmania's North East.

New RG training positions in the North West for 2022

The TRGP is delighted that funding has now been made available by the Tasmanian Government to establish dedicated RG training positions in the North West region as part of the government's commitment to progressing the RG workforce model. These positions are specifically for Rural Generalist trainees and are in addition to existing junior doctor and registrar positions that are already recognised for RG or other training.

There are also new registrar training positions in Psychiatry and Palliative Care that are funded through other sources as well as existing positions in Adult Internal Medicine (General Medicine) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

While there is still some work to be completed to formally establish, accredit and confirm all these positions, the following are planned:

  • Anaesthetics
    • Four x 13 week RMO rotations (mix of NWRH and MCH experience)
  • Paediatrics
    • Four x 13 week RMO rotations
    • One x 12 month Registrar AST position (mix of outpatient and hospital experience)
  • Psychiatry
    • Four x 13 week RMO rotations (mix of inpatient and CAT team experience)
    • One x 12 month Registrar AST position (mix of experience across Mental Health specialty areas)
  • Palliative Care
    • Two x 12 month Registrar AST positions (mix of experience across inpatient care, community and aged care settings)
  • Adult Internal Medicine
    • Two x 12 month Registrar AST positions (mix of experience at NWRH and MCH)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    • Two x 6 month Diploma of Obstetrics positions OR one x 12 month Advanced Diploma position.

For further information or to express interest in Registrar positions, contact:

Dr Nicky Webster (Paediatrics) at nicola.webster@ths.tas.gov.au

Dr Chris Robinson (Psychiatry) at christopher.robinson@ths.tas.gov.au

Dr Rosemary Ramsay (Palliative Care) at rosemary.ramsay@utas.edu.au

Dr Rob Fassett (Adult Internal Medicine) at rob.fassett@ths.tas.gov.au (or Dr Shantha Dewage indralal.hewapra.dew@ths.tas.gov.au or Dr Jay Sen Gan jay.gan@ths.tas.gov.au

Dr Frank O’Keefe (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) at frank.b.okeeffe@ths.tas.gov.au

New RMO Rural GP rotations for 2022

We are also pleased to advise that there will be an extra two rural GP rotations available for PGY2 RG trainees in 2022. Once again, these are in addition to the RMO rotations already funded under the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF) program.

One rotation will be available on King Island where the practice already takes interns on rotation from NWRH, and the other rotation will be available at Deloraine which is a new addition to the other practices available (Queenstown, Scottsdale, St Helens and Oatlands).

Junior doctors on the RG pathway are encouraged to consider continuity of rural GP experience at locations they have already been exposed to as medical students.

For further information or to register interest in these rotations, please contact the TRGP office (tasrural.pathways@health.tas.gov.au) or express your interest when applying for 2022 positions via tas.gov.au.

Tasmanian Rural Generalist Scholarships

Applications are now open for the next round of TRG scholarships. There will be four scholarships available for University of Tasmania medical student graduates. These scholarships are valued at $15,000 each.

Any University of Tasmania medical student graduate can apply, noting preference will be given to students from the Rural Clinical School and the Launceston Clinical School. The intern year must be undertaken at the North West Regional Hospital or Launceston General Hospital.

Full information on eligibility, selection and application is available on the TRGP website (applications close on 3rd September).

For further information please contact Sharee Taylor at the Burnie RG office or email tasrural.pathways@health.tas.gov.au.

New ACRRM RG pathway positions

The Commonwealth Government has also recently announced funding for additional Rural Generalist training positions to be managed and provided by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

The Rural Generalist Training Scheme (RGTS) is a four-year, fully funded stream of the College-led Independent Pathway that leads to Fellowship of ACRRM (FACRRM). It provides a comprehensive Rural Generalist education program, an agile training environment, flexible options to meet the program requirements, and individualised training support.

These positions will become available in 2022 but expressions of interest are currently being sought. These will build up to a total of 200 positions available across the country which means at least four positions are likely to be available in Tasmania. Visit the ACRRM website for further information and to register your interest.

Welcome new TRGP team member Jodie Evertsen

‘My name is Jodie Evertsen and I am the new Communication, Marketing and Media Project Officer for the Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway Coordination Unit. I currently live in Launceston with my husband Paul, dog Rosie and cat Misty. I have lived in Launceston for the past 3 months, having relocated from the Whitsunday Region in Queensland. I have a Bachelor of Communication and worked as a Communications and Publications Officer at a school in the Whitsundays prior to accepting this role.

I have always had a keen interest in living and working outside of capital cities and assisting such communities to access quality healthcare is an exciting prospect to me. Relocating to Tasmania was a lifestyle choice for myself and my husband, and we greatly enjoy exploring this great state on weekends.'

Congratulations Dr Shehzad Kunwar

Dr Shehzad KunwarCongratulations to Dr Shehzad Kunwar, Deputy Executive Director of Medical Services at North West Regional Hospital.

Dr Kunwar has recently achieved his Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM) via the Rural Experienced Entry to Fellowship (REEF) pathway.

This pathway is specifically designed for experienced doctors who already hold specialist general practitioner registration in Australia.

Dr Kunwar also holds the Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) and has Advanced Specialised Training in anaesthetics.

Dr Kunwar worked as a GP in Victoria prior to coming to Tasmania.

Final round of AGPT applications for 2022

The Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program trains registrars in General Practice. Registrars who achieve their fellowship (FRACP or FACRRM) through the program can work as GPs anywhere in Australia. The program is fully funded by the Australian Government.

Your last chance to apply for the 2022 AGPT Program will be when applications for final intake open in August 2021.

If you would like to be considered in this last round or require further information, please contact the Colleges directly - RACGP at agpteligiblity@racgp.org.au or ACRRM at agpt@acrrm.org.au or visit the College websites.

RG Registrar Skills Training Day - 4th December 2021

Hospital BedsDr Aaron Hawkins and other RG registrars are organising a Skills Day on Saturday 4 December at the Rural Clinical School Skills Lab in Burnie. The day will mainly focus on those "difficult-to-get" logbook skills that are required by the Colleges as part of RG training and will utilise simulation training manikins and animal 'wet lab' specimens.

Further information will be published in this newsletter as it becomes available.

Any questions should be directed to Dr Aaron Hawkins at aaron.hawkins@gptt.com.au.

Tasmanian Rural Health Conference 2022

The 2022 Tasmanian Rural Health Conference is planned as a face-to-face event in Launceston around the weekend of 19-20 March.

Expect the conference to have an interesting mix of presentations, panel discussions, clinical updates, hands on workshops as well as re-visiting some of the important messages and evolving changes in rural practice that were highlighted in the 2021 virtual conference. Including some great social opportunities for all that important networking and collegiality.

RDAT members are eligible for a reduced registration fee and medical students will also be able to take advantage of a heavily discounted registration.

As the program takes shape, we will keep you informed via this newsletter and on the TRGP website conference page.

All conference enquiries to tasruralhealthconference@health.tas.gov.au.

Join us next year in Launceston.  Tasmanian rural Health Conference 2022, 19-20 March (to be confirmed).  A join initiative of the Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway (Coordination Unit) and the Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania.  Tas.RuralHealthConference@health.tas.gov.au

Have you completed your FACRRM or FARGP in Tasmania?

Don’t forget to apply for your Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway Certificate of Completion

Current Vacancies

THS recruitment campaign for Interns, RMOs and Registrars

Visit Doctors in Training Recruitment Campaigns

For GP registrar placements through GPTT, refer to the GPTT placement process information

For GP vacancies, please visit HRPlusTas

Events –2021

Check out the Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway calendar for events of interest to rural practitioners.

Email tasrural.pathways@health.tas.gov.au to have your event included in the calendar.

7-9 September 2021:  GPTEC 2021, Darwin

9-11 September 2021:  RACGP Annual Conference GP21, Melbourne

20-23 October 2021:  RDAA/ACRRM Rural Medicine Australia 2021 Conference, Perth

19-20 March 2022:  Tasmanian Rural Health Conference TRHC22, Launceston Tas (date to be confirmed)

The Tasmanian Rural Generalist Pathway is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the National Rural Generalist Pathway Initiative.