Meet your GP Locum Team

By Melinda McCarthy published on 18/08/2021 General Practice, locum /

With over 15 years of experience working with and recruiting doctors across Australia, Georgia, Steph and Melissa are passionate about what they do.

Not only do they love what they do, they are also good friends, have a mutual respect for one another, and work together to understand their doctors' professional and personal goals. We caught up with the Sydney-based team to chat about the current market, the challenges of working during COVID, and why they like working at Ochre.

The current market given the pandemic has led to an abundance of locum opportunities. How have you been managing the border restrictions to find suitable GPs Georgia?

We have taken a very proactive approach constantly adapting our strategy depending on each locum situation. In some cases, we have extended doctors where they are currently locuming so they can avoid going into further lockdown restrictions which have benefited well with the medical clinics to ensure continuity of care.

From a logistical point it makes sense to keep locum doctors in the state they normally reside therefore we have looked at our locum bookings 2-3 months ahead and swapped doctors’ locations if required to ensure doctors have work and clinics have cover. We have arranged Telehealth locums in regions where we can’t get doctors to.

As a team we have been keeping up with the ever-changing border lockdowns, ensuring all our doctors have exemptions to travel and if not, we have contingency plans in place to ensure clinics in regional areas are getting doctors. We have had doctors pick up and leave everything at the last minute to ensure they can get to their locum across borders before they close as they understand the implications of that community not having a doctor. The doctors and practices have been extremely flexible with this approach. It’s very inspiring and heart-felt to see everyone pulling together during this stressful time. 

You’ve built up an extensive network of clients during your nine years in medical recruitment. Can you tell us a little about your relationships with AMS & ACCHS and why you enjoy partnering with them?

I’ve been in medical recruitment coming up to 9 years and it’s been a privilege to work with Indigenous Australians and Communities across the country and learn in-depth the history of Australia which is not as widely publicised in the mainstream media. To be invited to learn about Cape York Communities in Far North QLD or remote areas like Balgo, Halls Creek, and Kununurra in Western Australia down to Yulara in Northern Territory and see how the impact of providing critical primary health care services to these communities is delivered, is an absolute honour and incredible eye-opener.

Tell me about working for an agency that is also a leading primary care provider?

It’s a totally new ball game in a good way. Because we are part of a broader healthcare business that operates over 50 Medical Centres, we are in a truly unique position. We have exposure to the operational side of running primary care centres, we get the fundamentals because we are clients. We understand the challenges from the client's perspective, while keeping our doctors, happy, valued and well rewarded.

When you’re working in the office with Medical Directors like Dr’s John Hall & Hamish Meldrum you learn so much from a clinical and medical perspective. It’s like upskilling in the medical space. We use these insights to form mutually respectful relationships with our doctors and they do appreciate that, as we value what’s important to them. Our advisors are our doctors' peers.

Steph, you’ve had the opportunity of working with doctors across a range of specialties during your career. What characteristics do doctors on the frontline of healthcare share?

General Practitioners are like no other. They are versed in all aspects of medicine. Because they have such a broad range of medical knowledge and are the first point of call for people in our communities, I’ve found them to be skilled at listening, communicating, compassionate, and empathetic. The GPs that I am fortunate enough to work with put tremendous value on patient care and delivering positive health outcomes. They are an honest and dedicated group of healthcare professionals.

In addition to the more traditional locum placements in practices and hospitals, what other locum opportunities can you offer GPs to diversify their skillsets?

We have opportunities within Correctional Facilities, Defense Force, Royal Flying Doctors, and international charities. We are also committed to education and training and are proud of Ochre’s vertically integrated medical training program where we help medical students, interns, registrars or fully qualified doctor’s through their medical journey.

Georgia, Melissa & Steph

Melissa, you manage all the credentials, travel for doctors, and provide admin support to the team. You must communicate with your doctors frequently?

Yes, that’s right. I do talk with them every day. I enjoy getting to know them.  Most of the doctors I talk with have many years of experience but still, remain super dedicated and passionate about what they do. I get particularly moved by our regular locums that no matter how far we need them to travel (to prevent a clinic from closing its doors) they are happy to help and go almost anywhere to provide exceptional healthcare. It is truly inspiring.

What makes Ochre a great place to work?

It feels like a big family. The whole team make me feel welcome and included. Everyone is very supportive and happy to give you a hand if you need it. We are always having fun while working. And also, it feels great and very satisfying to me to know that our work contributes in some way to all Australians no matter where they live.

Thank you to Georgia, Steph, and Meli. 

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If you are a locum General Practitioner, perhaps you would like some current market insights, some idea’s around unique locations you may not have visited before, or help with some forward locum planning? Whatever you need, our team is here to help.

Connect with Georgia.

Reach out to Steph.

Learn more about Melissa.

Alternatively, if you are not already a member of our GP locum network, register online. We look forward to working with you.

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