Having attracted 10 new general practitioners to the region the Doctors 4 Mudgee program is nearing its conclusion.
The aim of Mudgee 4 Doctors was to bring 11 new GPs to Mudgee and Gulgong, and help establish them and their families in the area in order to reduce the shortage of doctors within the area.
Back in 2010 the local region had a significant shortage of doctors, with waiting periods to obtain an appointment in excess of four weeks, extended waiting periods in the local hospital and scarce locums. This issue was compounded by the aging local medical workforce and population growth due to development, especially in the mining industry.
The aim of the Mudgee 4 Doctors project was to attract and retain 11 new general practitioner’s in the period from 2011-2018 to establish themselves and their families in the region which would reduce the shortage of doctors and therefore community waiting times to access medical care.
The project includes participation of three GP practices in Mudgee and Gulgong and is governed by a voluntary community board consisting of medical, community and business representatives. It has been funded by Glencore.
The project objectives were to offer a range of financial and non-financial incentives to promote the Cudgegong region as a professional choice for new and junior doctors and to support new doctors and their families before, during and after their transition to the region.
One of the most recent GPs to join was Sally Street from Queensland who said the Mudgee 4 Doctors program helped organise childcare, partner employment and other costs.
Sarah Gay, from Cowra, said she was helped with ongoing study costs “which can be expensive” while Edward Lee, from Sydney, was a long term prospect for the program.
“Since 2014 I’ve been planning on coming to Mudgee and this helped me make the decision,” he said.
Mudgee 4 Doctors is a non for profit project for the benefit of the community.
A project coordinator was in place for the duration of the project. Their role was to administer the financial incentives of the project on behalf of the board of management and conduct and coordinate the range of non-financial incentives.
The Mudgee 4 Doctors program was named as the NSW coal industry’s best community initiative for 2015.