Dr McPhee talks win for rural docs

HEALTHY MOVE: Dr Ewen McPhee in his new office.
HEALTHY MOVE: Dr Ewen McPhee in his new office. Kelly Butterworth

WHEN Dr Ewen McPhee first started working in Emerald a decade ago, he was the only doctor in town who knew how to deliver a baby.

Today, there are five who are qualified.

The President of the Rural Doctors Association said he was thrilled by the announcement that a re-elected Turnbull-Joyce Government would appoint the first ever National Rural Health Commissioner and move swiftly to develop a National Rural Generalist Pathway to address rural health's biggest issue - lack of medical professionals in rural, regional and remote areas.

The newly created National Rural Health Commissioner will work with rural, regional and remote communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and across all levels of government to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.

"It is an announcement that we have been working towards," Dr McPhee said yesterday.

"Rural and regional Queensland has a plan in place already and it is delivering through Queensland Health. It is this program we want to see expanded.

"It is all about delivering better care to the bush."

Dr McPhee said it was necessary in being explicit in specifically training for rural doctors, rather than hope students would choose to be placed in regional communities.

He said the role was one rich in personal rewards.

"The win is that you get to live in wonderful communities and deal with lovely people every day," he said.

"It is from the cradle to the grave.

"You develop a broad range of skills that are necessary for a wide range of roles."

Topics:  health rural

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