REGIONAL HEALTH: William Bay from Monash University, Laura Koefler from James Cook University, and Sabrina Yee from University of Queensland have finished their medical degrees and are now interning in CQ.
REGIONAL HEALTH: William Bay from Monash University, Laura Koefler from James Cook University, and Sabrina Yee from University of Queensland have finished their medical degrees and are now interning in CQ. Allan Reinikka Rokainterns

Gladstone intern keen to improve health in Rockhampton

IT'S no secret that Rockhampton's health is suffering, with high rates of chronic diseases.

It's preventative health that William Bay wants to focus on, and an area he'll no doubt get plenty of experience in as one of Rockhampton Hospital's 34 new interns.

It's a record number of interns for Rockhampton, seven of whom will be trained as a rural generalist through a program aiming to provide a steady stream of GPs to country towns.

Originally from Gladstone, William said prevention was the key to a healthy life, and hopes to specialise in cardiology.

"I think a regional area is excellent for providing access to develop your skills and abilities as a junior doctor more than say, some metro areas," he said.

"(At university) I got a good opportunity to get hands-on with a lot of surgeries and intubations and other things you may not get in cities, and I'm hoping similarly to get that experience here at the hospital so I can grow quickly and strongly as a doctor."

William studied at Monash University in Victoria, but he didn't travel as far as Sabrina Yee did to study. Sabrina studied medicine at the University of Queensland but is originally from Singapore, and is one of a number of international students who will also intern in Rockhampton, alongside those from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada and Japan.

She said she was interested in regional medicine, and would like to get some experience in rural areas of Queensland too.

"The difference between my home city, which is Singapore, is that you get metropolitan training, and I think in Australia it gives me the opportunity to have country and regional training which I'm really interested in," she said.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health's director of clinical training, Dr Annette Turley, said there was a shortage of Australian-trained doctors in both regional and rural areas. "Rural and regional areas of Australia need good doctors," she said.

"It's always difficult to recruit to regional areas. Once they're here they really enjoy it, it's that mindset of getting people out of a city into a regional area in any professional career (that's difficult)," she said.

"The more we can encourage young doctors like this to come out and stay and have a good time while they're with us in Rockhampton and Gladstone, and they rotate out to Emerald as well, it's better for the community."