Dubbo's Dr Seamus Barrett in rural generalist training program

TRAINING: Dr Seamus Barrett, who plans to work in rural communities of Western NSW, was accepted into the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program in 2017. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
TRAINING: Dr Seamus Barrett, who plans to work in rural communities of Western NSW, was accepted into the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program in 2017. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Dr Seamus Barrett may have grown up in the Steel City but his soft spot for country communities dictated his entry into the NSW Rural Generalist  Medical Training Program.

The four-year program launched in 2013 is helping to build a “medical workforce with advanced skills” to treat the almost two million people living in rural and regional parts of the state.

Dr Barrett, 26, a GP registrar at Dubbo Medical and Allied Health Group, secured a position in the program in 2017 offering advanced skills training in anaesthetics.

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This week the Health Education and Training Institute reminded junior doctors that more than 50 rural generalist training positions were up for grabs in 2019, including three in Dubbo in the fields of anaesthetics, obstetrics and emergency medicine.

Dr Barrett is among 160 doctors to have joined the program in the past six years.

On Friday he was studying for exams having completed anaesthetics training at Dubbo Hospital and begun his “GP journey”.

I really liked the feel of rural communities, the welcoming atmosphere and the teamwork of people looking out for each other.

GP registrar Dr Seamus Barrett

“The program is about equipping people to work in rural and remote general practice settings,” Dr Barrett said. 

“The idea is to get your general practice training as well as advanced skills.”

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Born, raised and educated in Newcastle, Dr Barrett’s volunteer involvement in the running of school holiday programs in the bush planted the seed for a tree change.

“I really liked the feel of rural communities, the welcoming atmosphere and the teamwork of people looking out for each other,” he said.

The future doctor also noted labour shortages in country NSW and decided it would be “a good place to end up”.

Dr Barrett is excited and daunted at the prospect of working in theatres of small hospitals in the region, but he knows he won’t be alone.

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“The program has always been supportive and through every stage of training you have the availability of mentors,” he said. 

Dr Barrett wants to be part of a workforce that “saves people a round trip to have a simple procedure, having to think about giving birth away from their home town and family supports, and allows people to spend more time in their communities”.

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