Working as an Indigenous Health GP Locum in QLD

By Melinda McCarthy published on 21/04/2021 locum, Locum work, AMS /

Working as a general practitioner in Indigenous Health is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Over the years Ochre has built up a network of contacts within the AMS and ACCHS systems offering doctors a range of jobs in practices seeking Indigenous health specialists.

This week we shine the spotlight on CRAICCHS (Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services), a bulk billing GP clinic, and service centre of holistic health, wellbeing and community support to the communities of Cherbourg and South Burnett Queensland. We caught up with our very own GP Dr. Deb Wardle who has been working as a GP Locum doctor at CRAICCHS for many years.

What motivates you to keep going back to locum at CRAICCHS?

I have been going regularly to CRAICCHS for seven years. I keep going back because the nursing staff and current hierarchy are great. Because I have been coming regularly, I feel accepted by the community. They are always welcoming. When I began going there, there were only random locums who seldom returned. Now CRAICCHs has a full-time doctor and a roster of 5 - 6 regular locums, who enjoy the work, and this has improved the quality of care, and communication between us and the specialist and hospital care, and therefore the patient’s overall understanding of their disease and management.

How is working as a locum at CRAICCHS different from working at other sites/locations?

CRAICCHS differs from other practices I work in. It has excellent facilities and services, including on-site allied health, hearing, dental, respiratory, and eye specialists. Health workers take a history, and observations from patients before I see them. There is a lot more pathology. Diabetes is rife in young people, with subsequent cardiac and renal disease.

Tell me a little about the Women’s Education nights you’ve been involved with?

The Women’s Evenings are run by our excellent nurse Jo and an interested health worker Grace. They are well attended and received, with pertinent questions raised. The attendees then enthusiastically choose the topic for the next evening.

Tomorrow night, for example, we have a guest speaker, the Breast nurse, giving a talk on breast cancer, and more than a third of the attendants have experienced breast cancer. The older women share their experiences with the younger women and there is plenty of laughter.

And what kind of impact do you think they have had on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women & their families?

The Women’s Education nights are an attempt to empower the community to make better health decisions, and thus empower them and their families. It also makes the clinic a more friendly, approachable, and holistic place.

What advice would you give to doctors considering working in an AMS?

I would encourage anybody who has an interest in aboriginal health to try it. Some flexibility is needed as priorities can differ. You will enjoy it. 

Thanks for chatting with us today Deb.

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Indigenous health is a specialism that is particularly suited to doctors who enjoy:

  • Practicing within a holistic care model
  • Working within a multidisciplinary team environment
  • Managing complex and challenging clinical cases
  • Using a wide range of clinical skills and expertise
  • Developing new skills

Attitude and approach are central for any general practitioner looking to work with Indigenous communities. Eligible GPs need to be passionate about understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of each community they serve.

We are currently on the lookout for GPs who have availability from 26/7 - 20/8 in the picturesque  South Burnett region. 

Work at the main clinic with the permanent GP on Mondays and Fridays and on Tuesday to Thursday at the brand new outreach centre alongside the Aboriginal Healthcare Workers, nursing and reception staff. Clinic hours are 8am - 5pm Monday to Thursday and Fridays 8am - 3pm. Earn $1400 per day and have all your car, travel and accommodation covered.

This locum role would suit a GP who is keen to get in on the ground floor of developing their AMS experience - or looking for a regular return locum within a travelable distance from home.

If you are a general practitioner, hold FRACGP, VR or equivalent qualifications; and General or Specialist registration with AHPRA, and are keen to make a positive impact on the health and well-being outcomes in the South Burnett region of Queensland, we’d love to hear from you. 

Contact Georgia Stratford directly on 0426 232 081.

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