Four weeks into his three-month stint as Dubbo Hospital's first-ever radiology registrar, Dr Ken Tsai is already interested in returning when he becomes a fully-qualified consultant.
Dubbo and its public hospital have made a good impression on the registrar in his fifth and final year of specialist training. "I'm enjoying it," the Hobart-based doctor said this week. "I think the team they have got here is pretty good."
The Western NSW Local Health District's (WNSWLHD) general manager of medical imaging Steve Adams likes what he is hearing.
"Eventually we hope they will come back and work for us," he said.
Mr Adams is referring to Dr Tsai and two colleagues, Dr Amy Khoo and Dr Sean Barrett, who are the first-ever radiology registrars to train at Orange hospital.
The registrars will be in the WNSWLHD between three and 12 months.
Dr Tsai will be the first of four registrars from Hobart to spend three months at Dubbo Hospital.
The three registrars currently training at Dubbo and Orange hospitals have come to the country through collaboration between the WNSWLHD, the College of Radiology and their training hospitals in Hobart, Sydney and Canberra.
Mr Adams said helping radiology registrars build skills and experience outside of metropolitan centres was "groundbreaking for us".
"Alfred Medical Imaging (AMI), the principle radiology provider for Western NSW, has also been instrumental in developing a robust training program and bringing us to this point," he said.
"The highly specialised radiologists from AMI and their vast experience in training radiology registrars will ensure that these trainees benefit greatly from their time with us.”
Mr Adams said patients benefited from the presence of the registrars.
"It will basically increase the capacity of what we will do and the speed at which we will be able to get examinations done," he said.
Mr Adams hopes "really good training", the rural lifestyle and the "collegial nature of rural medical communities" will prove irresistible to current and future radiology registrars in the region.
He thinks the redevelopment of Dubbo hospital is another drawcard.
"The exciting thing here at Dubbo is that as we move into the new hospital we'll have increased capacity to train people," Mr Adams.
The general manager said the hospital, which already had x-ray, CT scanning and ultrasound equipment, would acquire an MRI machine in 2020.