Stu­dent tour hopes to boost our GP num­bers

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

THE doc­tors of to­mor­row got a taste of re­gional medicine on Tues­day when they dropped in for a tour of Echuca-Moama.

The group of Monash Univer­sity sec­ond year med­i­cal stu­dents left the big smoke be­hind for a day, vis­it­ing Echuca Re­gional Health to learn about med­i­cal sit­u­a­tions they could face if they take up a post­ing out­side the metropoli­tan area.

They also en­joyed the fullfledged Echuca-Moama ex­pe­ri­ence, tak­ing a ride on a pad­dlesteamer.

Part of a two-week pro­gram in Bendigo, the tour ex­posed stu­dents to ru­ral ar­eas in an aim to help boost the num­ber of GPs in the re­gion.

‘‘We re­ally need to en­cour­age doc­tors, when they do grad­u­ate, to come out to coun­try ar­eas such as the hos­pi­tals in Rochester and Echuca,’’ or­gan­iser Noel Mitchell said.

‘‘That’s what this whole pro­gram is based around.

‘‘We’ll keep do­ing this un­til we get some more doc­tors mov­ing up.’’

While stu­dent Paul Di­daskalu hailed from Bal­larat, he said the trip was a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for peo­ple who hadn’t been to a ru­ral town be­fore.

‘‘I feel a lot of peo­ple are find­ing it to be a more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence than they ex­pected,’’ he said.

‘‘I think there can be a lot of stereo­types about ru­ral towns. So it’s great for peo­ple to see that it’s re­ally not that dif­fer­ent to a big city like Mel­bourne.

‘‘Of course, med­i­cally speak­ing, there are ad­di­tional chal­lenges, as there are less spe­cial­ists here.’’

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