30 new doctors start on Northern Rivers
JAMES Boyd and Carlos Perez only started work at the Grant Street Clinic in Ballina a few weeks ago, but they have fallen in love with the Northern Rivers and want to stay here permanently.
"I'm a keen surfer, so this is the place for me. I love the sunshine - I'm originally from England," Dr Boyd said.
"I've actually been around this area since 2008 working at Lismore Base Hospital and the Ballina Hospital."
The doctors are two of 30 young GPs who have recently arrived in the area to do practical training through North Coast GP Training.
While fully qualified as doctors, they are working up to their GP exams.
Dr Perez, originally from Colombia, said he chose to be a general practitioner because he enjoyed the continuity of care.
"You can take your time with your patients and you get to know them better," he said.
"I think you are more in touch with the community."
The Federal Government allocates 1100 GP training places to be shared over 17 training providers.
In the past five years, the number of places on the North Coast has doubled.
North Coast GP Training has more than 120 doctors at various stages of their training working in practices across the North Coast region. The program involves 50 accredited training practices and 100 supervising doctors.
Dr Perez and Dr Boyd said they had received a lot of support since starting at the Grant Street Clinic.
"You are put out there on your own, but you can ask your supervisor anything and they are always there," Dr Boyd said.
More than 60% of the doctors who go through the program with North Coast GP Training stay in the region after they finish.