Student tour hopes to boost our GP numbers

By Riverine Herald

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 full-fledged 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.’’