Welcoming new health professionals to Macleay

Attracting and retaining health professionals is a common and ongoing challenge for many communities across NSW. A unique event in Kempsey this week aimed to make our newest health professionals feel welcomed and part of local networks.

The health professionals networking evening was hosted by the Kempsey Primary Health Care Access Working Group. While open to all in the industry, the event specifically welcomed four new registrars that commenced working locally at the start of 2020 along with other new staff from the Local Health District, especially Jill Wong, Executive Officer of Kempsey District Hospital.

Kempsey Shire Council’s Acting General Manager, Stephen Mitchell, who attended the event along with Councillor Anna Shields, herself a health professional, said it was a great success.

“Being a new resident in town with a professionally demanding job can be really challenging and can be isolating,” said Mr Mitchell.

“It was fantastic to be part of an event seeking to break that isolation and give our newest health professionals some local insight and connections.”

The Kempsey Primary Health Care Access Working Group is chaired and facilitated by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) and includes representatives from local GP practices, GP Synergy, the Mid North Coast Local Health District, North Coast GP Training, Council and North Coast Primary Health Network.

The Working Group is focussed on navigating the highly regulated system and the competitive challenges that make it harder to attract and retain registrars to the Kempsey area.

Sarah Dowe, RDN’s Regional Partnership Manager, explained RDN’s purpose is to improve health access for people living in remote, rural, regional, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities in NSW and the ACT.

“Our role in the networking event was about supporting health professionals to build stronger collegial networks and be well connected, to help them serve their patients and their communities,” said Ms Dowe.

“RDN believes in supporting communities to be as strong as they can be and events such as this, coupled with the continued efforts of the working group, is laying the foundation for a strengthened network of primary health care professionals working together to support the Kempsey and surrounding communities.”

Monika Wheeler, Mel Chapman and Debbie FraserMonika Wheeler of North Coast PHN, Mel Chapman of AB Surgery and Debbie Fraser of Early Connections Kempsey at the networking evening

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