WORK AND LIFESTYLE: Young trainee doctor Naomi Piyaratna, is here for ‘top-shelf medical training’ and the ‘work/life balance’.
WORK AND LIFESTYLE: Young trainee doctor Naomi Piyaratna, is here for ‘top-shelf medical training’ and the ‘work/life balance’. Patrick Gorbunovs

Bright young doctors attracted to area

WHILE Northern Rivers residents fret over the state of our health infrastructure, the best and the brightest young doctors-in-training are lining up to learn here.

For the past four years the University Centre for Rural Health has partnered up with three universities - Sydney, Wollongong and Western Sydney - to provide training on the North Coast for final year medical students.

The aim is to attract new blood to the ranks of our region's doctors, and it's working. The majority of interns now working at Lismore Base Hospital are former medical students of the area.

"Three present interns at Lismore Base are from the Wollongong program, and we're also getting many of the students applying to do GP training," said Dr Jane Barker, University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) academic co-ordinator.

The placement program has the added benefit of raising the profile of Lismore Base as a teaching hospital, a status that tends to attract trainee specialists looking for teaching experience in their field.

And by all accounts from this year's crop of students, our region is fast becoming the destination of choice for aspiring young medicos.

University of Wollongong medical student Naomi Piyaratna was drawn here for its fast-growing reputation for top-shelf medical training and work/life balance.

She is based in Lennox Head Medical Practice and has also worked out of Ballina Hospital Emergency Department.

"All the ED staff there are really well trained... they don't have as many facilities for advanced diagnosis, so they have to be really good at managing patients," she said.

Ms Piyaratna lives in Lennox Head with other medical students who either surf or are doing their surf lifesaving bronze medallions.



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