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  • Road to Rural Program to expand in 2017


    22 December 2016

    The RDWA’s Road to Rural (R2R) Intern Program will expand in 2017 to offer 15 interns the opportunity to experience hands-on rural general practice.

    The 10-week program places interns at practices in Kadina, Jamestown and Port Lincoln.

    “The RDWA thinks it’s very important for interns to have exposure to rural GPs to truly appreciate rural general practice as a career choice,” said RDWA CEO, Lyn Poole.

    In 2016, the RDWA placed 10 interns. Lucy Haynes was one of them. She spent 10 weeks in the Kadina Medical Associates practice. Dr Haynes experienced what life is like in a rural general practice. She describes the experience as excellent.

    “I developed a passion for rural medicine and living in the penultimate year of my degree,” said Dr Haynes.

    “I feel very happy and privileged to be a junior doctor and to have so many opportunities still before me.”

    R2R provides interns with first-hand experience in general practice and in the local hospitals.

    The RDWA, in collaboration with Country Health Local Health Network (LHN), AOGP and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, developed R2R to provide rural general practice exposure to interns.

    “This program gives interns a taste of country,” said Lyn Poole.

    “The 10 interns who went out to country practices this year, had a great time and we are thrilled to be able to expand the number of available placements, thanks to the overwhelming support of our rural doctors,” she said.

    The practices involved in the R2R program are:

    Kadina Medical Associates

    Jamestown Medical Centre

    Boston Bay Family Health Practice (Port Lincoln).

    For further information please contact Lesley Johns at RDWA on 0412 583 577.

  • Healthy Ears - Better Hearing, Better Listening


    22 December 2016

    Healthy Ears - Better Hearing, Better Listening program extended to Whyalla, Ceduna and Point Pearce

    Aboriginal children living in Whyalla, Ceduna and Point Pearce will benefit from a new ear health service to be delivered by Rural Doctors Workforce Agency’s Outreach program in 2017.

    The Healthy Ears - Better Hearing, Better Listening program is part of the RDWA’s Outreach suite of specialist health services provided to people living in regional and remote South Australia.

    The program is funded by the Australian Government.

    “We now have regular audiologist visits to provide services to Aboriginal children and young people,” said Rural Doctors Workforce Agency CEO, Lyn Poole.

    “This service will make a difference to the lives of those young people, and that’s exactly what the RDWA Outreach program is about - delivering specialists services to people who live in country regions,” she said.

    The Healthy Ears - Better Hearing, Better Listening program is operated throughout South Australia by the RDWA. The RDWA has partnered with the Women’s & Children’s Health Network’s, Children’s Audiology Service to deliver these services.

    There are 12 specialist health providers including Ear Nose and Throat specialists, Audiologists, Child Health Nurses and Speech Pathologists who make regular visits to 18 locations across SA.

    Since July 1, across the state, 686 children have had their ears assessed by a specialist, and 16 children have had life-changing surgery to restore or improve their hearing.

    The specialist services can be accessed through:

    • Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service in Whyalla
    • Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service in Ceduna
    • Point Pearce Clinic at Point Pearce.

    For further information please contact Lesley Johns at RDWA on 0412 583 577.

  • New Doctor for country SA


    29 November 2016

    A new GP has started work at the Kincraig Medical Clinic in Naracoorte.

    Dr Benjamin Ojobor joins the South Australian rural doctors cohort from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Prior to that he worked as a doctor in Jamaica.

    Dr Ojobor is married with two children. A keen photographer and writer, Dr Ojobor has three published books.

    He joins Naracoorte's Kincraig Medical Clinic, a busy and modern practice which has been providing medical services to the region for over 40 years.

    "Kincraig Medical Clinic is very excited that Dr Ojobor has joined our practice," said Kate Foster, Practice Manager, Kincraig Medical Clinic.

    Dr Ojobor is already immersed in the RDWA Fellowship Support Program, attending the recent two-day Communication Skills workshop.

    The RDWA Welcomes Dr Ojobor and looks forward to enhancing and supporting his career as a rural doctor in South Australia.

  • Rural Community Health and Wellbeing Award


    28 November 2016

    Waikerie Men’s Shed has been awarded the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Community Health and Wellbeing Award in the South Australian Community Achievement Awards, announced on Friday evening at the Hilton Adelaide.

    Representatives Bob Kemp and David Krollig were presented with their award by RDWA's Director, Workforce, Gretchen Scinta.

    Mayor Leon Stasinowsky of the District Council of Loxton Waikerie was among the 400 guests from across the state celebrating South Australia’s high achievers and community contributors.

    Waikerie Men’s Shed provides a caring and inclusive environment. They offer a wide range of activities and programs to enhance each member’s self esteem and improve their physical and mental wellbeing. In addition to volunteer initiatives within the community, the Shed runs health promotion sessions on men’s health issues. Qualified health professionals provide information on diabetes, depression, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, arthritis and dementia. There are 70 members who benefit from the Shed's health promotion and activities.

    Our congratulations to Waikerie Men’s Shed.

    Waikerie Men’s Shed representatives Bob Kemp (pictured centre) and David Krollig (right) accept their award from RDWA's Gretchen Scinta

  • Mid Eyre welcomes new doctor


    3 November 2016

    Mid Eyre communities have warmly welcomed a new doctor, Dr Mateen Butt.

    Dr Butt is based at Mid Eyre Medical in Cleve, on the Eyre Peninsula. The practice is operated by Country Health SA Local Health Network.

    Dr Butt said he was very happy to be in country South Australia and was overwhelmed by the welcome he and his wife have received.

    “It is a very nice community. They are very welcoming and we feel at home already,” said Dr Butt.

    “Our family will be very happy here,” he said.

    Dr Butt is married to Nabila and they have three daughters who are currently in Canada, but will join the family in 2017.

    Dr Butt has been working in the Middle East, most recently in Qatar. In 2002, he briefly worked in country SA as a GP, but needed to return for family reasons. 

    “I was keen to return to Australia and I’m very happy to be able to practice in Cleve,” he said.

    Dr Butt’s appointment to the Mid Eyre Medical comes after an international search by the RDWA to find a doctor ideally suited to the practice.

    “We are pleased to introduce Dr Butt to regional South Australia and know his contribution to the health and wellbeing of people living in and around Mid Eyre will be greatly appreciated,” said Lyn Poole, RDWA CEO.

    For more information contact Lesley Johns on 0412 583 577.

  • RDWA e-News 25 October 2016

    • Congratulations to Dr David Senior - Recognised for lifetime service
    • 2016 Rural GP and Practice Workforce Surveys - Have you completed yours?
    • GP Local CPD Events - See what's coming up in your region
    • Register now - medSPACE UMAT Preparation Support Program for 2017

    View RDWA e-News 25 October 2016

  • 1000k's 4 Kids


    21 October 2016

    Team RDWA, headed by GP Locum Dr Russell Richardson, has successfully completed the 1000k's 4 Kids ride, helping to raise $127,000 for Camp Quality.

    1000k's 4 Kids is Camp Quality’s annual fundraiser and the RDWA team rode from Geelong to Glenelg over 10 days.

    The ride was the culmination of a year-round training and fundraising effort by Dr Richardson and a team of hard-working people committed to creating a better life for kids living with cancer.

    Dr Richardson was the captain of the RDWA team, which wore distinctive hot pink jerseys. The RDWA team included 14 year old Jessye, a blind rider who lost her sight as a young child due to Retinoblastoma.

    Read more about Dr Richardson’s adventure, in his own words, below.

    1000ks for Kids..a Wonderful Adventure

    What would possess someone to choose to ride 1000 kilometres on a bicycle? Good Question!! However, I recently had the pleasure and privilege of doing just that, with the sponsorship and support of many wonderful people at RDWA.

    So let’s break it down a bit…what were the motivations?

    1. Doing it for a good cause.. fundraising for the wonderful volunteers and kids at Camp Quality...Tick.
    2. Spending time working together with a bunch of strangers and friends as a team to achieve something special...Tick.
    3. Riding through some of the most spectacular countryside this country has to offer…the Great Ocean Road and south east SA...Tick.
    4. In some beautiful sunny weather with the wind at your tail...hmmm...standby (no tick)

    We started in Geelong on a cloudy Friday morning...20 enthusiastic riders and 12 support team. The cyclists were divided into 5 teams, each with a team captain and a recognisable colourful jersey. I had the honour of captaining the Pink RDWA team...which included Jessye a 14 year old blind rider who lost her sight as a young child due to Retinoblastoma...an aggressive malignant cancer in the back of the eye. She lost her first eye aged 1 and the other around 3 years of age. If ever you need inspiration spend some time with her. She rode on a tandem bike with her pilot Tristan. Her mother Trish was also riding in our team...she had never ridden a road bike until 6 months before the event...so 1000km was going to be a challenge and we would see if the hours of training and preparation would be sufficient. Trish certainly had significant doubts as to her ability to finish the task!

    There were many of the riders and support staff that I had only met for the first time the night before...so riding the 95km as a group to our first stop at Apollo Bay gave opportunity to get to know each other better, and explore the various reasons why that person chose to be there. The support crew were responsible for protecting us on the road from traffic, with a lead car, rear car and back up car to assist with mechanical issues and punctures should they arise. Morning tea and lunch stops gave us an opportunity to all get together and thrive in the comradeship of the group.

    In the evenings after dinner and discussion of the route and potential dangers of the next day, we would hand out prizes and fines from the day. The Joker jersey goes to a member of the riding group who has done something funny or stupid worthy of recognition. There were always honourable mentions, and those who did not win on the day had to make a gold coin donation for their efforts. The winner got to wear the colourful rainbow cycling top the next day…which reminded me of what a Minstrel/Village Idiot would wear in medieval times. There was also a Most Supportive Jersey given to the individual who made a special effort during the day to assist another rider. And also a King of The Mountain jersey, to celebrate someone who had overcome adversity during the day and battled on regardless. Each day there were new nominations and recipients. The support crew also had similar awards to recognise their special contributions.

    We would also have one of the riders who would share their story as to why they had come along…and this was always a very powerful and emotional bonding experience for the group. We had 2 other childhood cancer survivors in the group. Special mention goes to Alex, a wonderful 22 year old man who was diagnosed with leukaemia aged 12 who now is an Ambassador for Camp Quality, a Board member, who I had the privilege of walking Kokoda with when he was 14 and he rode from Perth to Adelaide (2855km) when 16, both fundraising for charity. Kids who have been on the cancer journey certainly have a different level of maturity and views on life compared with their peers.

    Thankfully the first few days’ weather was kind to us. The second and third days had some challenging mountain climbs through the Otways with some exhilarating descents. The Tandem bike flew past me at one point when I was travelling at 63kmph...imagine the trust that Jessye must have for Tristan rocketing along at that speed and not being able to see!!

    If the distance wasn’t challenging enough, the middle 2 days of the ride from Warrnambool to Mt Gambier tested the mind and body. It rained heavily and we had gale force head winds…the same weather that smashed SA and wrecked the Wallaroo jetty and the Adelaide beaches. There is nowhere to hide from that on a bike, and it relies on everyone giving 100% to get to the group home safely.

    We typically started riding at daybreak…trying to get most of the day’s distance licked before the winds picked up too much. We would arrive at our stopping point usually by early afternoon, so that gave everyone an opportunity to explore the area and towns before dinner. At a number of locations along the way we visited Primary Schools and watched the Camp Quality Puppet show, which educates children about cancer to help them understand and accept either other children at their school or adults close to them who are facing the challenges of living with cancer. After the show we would be available for the kids to ask us questions regarding our cycling journey, and as you can imagine there were many hilarious and unusual questions from the enthusiastic audience.

    Our final day saw us riding from Milang on the banks of Lake Alexandrina to Glenelg through the Adelaide Hills. Thankfully the weather Gods were kind to us. We even had a motorcycle Police escort through the busy metropolitan streets (3 of the bike riders were senior Police...so they called in a few favours). There was a massive contingent of family and friends welcoming us home.

    Despite a few challenging moments…with wild weather, mental fatigue, legs that weren’t sure whether they wanted to keep pushing the pedals and buttock bones that took some coaxing to get back in the saddle, the entire group managed to ride all 1000km. For Trish, this was particularly rewarding and it was with some significant relief and satisfaction that she crossed the finish line with a massive smile on her face!!

    We managed to raise $127,000 for Charity.

    Events like this are a wonderful shared experience. I would encourage anyone who would want to ride, or join the support staff to look at doing it. You won’t regret it, and it may well change your life!!

  • RDWA e-News 20 July 2016

    • Apply now - Murray Bridge Clinical Skills Day (GP Anaesthetics), 3 September
    • GP Local Events for July, August and September
    • Register now for RESP - Port Augusta 29-30 July | Kadina 9-10 September
    • Apply now for Trauma Management Program for Registrars, 21-23 September

    View RDWA e-News 20 July 2016

  • RDWA e-News 5 July 2016

    • Register now for RESP - Port Augusta 29-30 July | Kadina 9-10 September
    • Apply now for Trauma Management Program for Registrars, 21-23 September
    • Nominate now for the 2016 Community Achievement Awards
    • Country Health SA LHN Safety and Quality Alert no. 18-2016

    View RDWA e-News 5 July 2016

  • RDWA e-News 21 June 2016

    • Outreach services help regional communities see clearly
    • Register now for RESP - Mount Barker 1-2 July | Port Augusta 29-30 July
    • Nominate now for the 2016 Community Achievement Awards
    • Country Health SA LHN Safety and Quality Alerts no. 15-2016 and 16-2016

    View RDWA e-News 21 June 2016

  • RDWA e-News 9 June 2016

    • Nominations now open for the 2016 Community Achievement Awards
    • Register now for RESP - Mount Barker 1-2 July | Port Augusta 29-30 July
    • GP Local Event for June
    • Country Health SA LHN Safety and Quality Alerts no. 13-2016 and 14-2016

    View RDWA e-News 9 June 2016

  • Australian Govt funded visiting Outreach Services

    All RDWA Outreach Services have been extended by the Australian Government for one year.

    All fund holders, across the nation, have been offered similar 12 month agreements.

    Funding to the programs has been maintained with the exception of the Rural Health Outreach program, which has suffered a 13% reduction in funding, which is approximately $400,000.

    RDWA Health Outreach will continue to deliver priority services to rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

    RDWA has developed a plan to accommodate the reductions, which involves minimal impact to current service delivery.

    The Indigenous Chronic Disease Program has retained its funding level. Ear and Eye Surgical Services (EESS), eye health coordination and a new nutrition outreach service have been incorporated into the Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease Program (MOICDP).

    The Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS) level of funding has been retained.

    The service plans for each program are endorsed by the South Australian Outreach Advisory Forum, a body including representatives from the Australian Government, South Australian Government, Aboriginal Health Council, Primary Health Networks and Optometry SA.

    As the Commonwealth Department of Health approves the plan for each funded area, the RDWA is proceeding to re-contract the 150+ providers who service our rural communities.

    If you have any questions about the changes to arrangements please contact either the CEO Lyn Poole or the General Manager Mandy McCulloch.

  • Country Doctors recognised for Long Service

    Fifty-two of South Australia’s country doctors who have served rural communities for more than 1600 years collectively were honoured at the RDWA Annual Conference Dinner on Saturday 21 May 2016.

    The doctors were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the health of people living in rural and remote South Australia.

    South Australia’s Governor, the Honourable Hieu Van Le presented 25 and 35 year long service medals to the doctors.

    The doctors have served in locations ranging from Coober Pedy to Kimba, from Kapunda to Yorketown and everywhere in between.

    “Their contribution to the health and well-being of rural and remote communities is outstanding,” said RDWA CEO, Ms Lyn Poole.

    “Almost without exception, these doctors are still making a contribution to rural health, including 10 who are now working as locums for the RDWA, providing support to allow resident doctors to take leave,” she said.

    "Conservatively, these 52 doctors have provided around 10 million patient consultations. On top of that they’ve birthed hundreds of babies, given anaesthetics, performed surgeries and saved countless numbers of lives in the Emergency Departments of our Country hospitals,” said Ms Poole.

    “In anyone’s terms, these are extraordinary achievements.”

    The RDWA congratulate and thank for their contribution:

    25 years
    Dr Lisa Beament, Clare
    Dr David Brookes, Mount Barker
    Dr Trevor Burchall, Mount Gambier
    Dr Thomas Davey, Lobethal
    Dr Sara Fensak, Lameroo
    Dr Peter Hamilton, Loxton
    Dr Graham Hughes, Mount Barker
    Dr Christine Lucas, Port Lincoln
    Dr Richard Mackinnon, Crystal Brook
    Dr Mark Miller, Goolwa
    Dr Graham Norton, Visiting Specialist
    Dr Karen Sumner, RDWA
    Dr Geoffrey Symons, Gumeracha
    Dr David Trenam, Murray Bridge
    Dr Richard Van Dissel, Kapunda
    Dr Jennifer Wilson, Locum

    35 years
    Dr John Arthurson, Mount Barker
    Dr David Batt, Victor Harbor
    Dr Michael Beckoff, Locum
    Dr Michael Betts, Waikerie
    Dr John Biggins, Locum
    Dr Peter Clements, Locum
    Dr Stephen Dunn, Mount Gambier
    Dr Dennis Eaton, Tumby Bay
    Dr John Entwistle, Hahndorf    
    Dr Graham Fleming, Tumby Bay
    Dr Lyn Gardiner, Yankalilla
    Dr Devinder Grewal, Port Augusta
    Dr Graham Hamdorf, Visiting Specialist - Murray Bridge
    Dr Verity Irwin, Victor Harbor
    Dr Richard Jolly, Locum
    Dr Peter Joyner, Mannum
    Dr Ernest Kamitakahara, Coober Pedy
    Dr Jonas Kasauskas, Locum
    Dr George Kokar, Yorketown    
    Dr Stewart Martin, Locum
    Dr Bernard Myatt, Tanunda
    Dr Mark Nicholls, Murray Bridge
    Dr Graeme Nicholson, Murray Bridge
    Dr Brian Norcock, Naracoorte
    Dr Paramaswaami Parasuramar, Kapunda
    Dr Ian Partridge, Locum
    Dr Stephanie Partridge, Locum
    Dr John Penna, Berri
    Dr David Rosenthal, Renmark
    Dr Stephen Salagaras, Two Wells
    Dr Roger Sexton, Locum
    Dr Behzad Shroff, Port Augusta
    Dr Robert Thompson, Murray Bridge
    Dr John Urlwin, Tanunda
    Dr Patrick Wells, Nuriootpa
    Dr Timothy Wood, Kadina

    RDWA Long Service Rural SA Doctors

  • Rural Health Young Achiever Award 2016

    Tamra Karolewicz, 23 of Port Lincoln, was awarded the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award in the 2016 Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards. This is RDWA's seventh year of proudly supporting the Awards.

    Presented with her award by RDWA Director of Recruitment, Angela Tridente, Tamra was one of eleven category winners announced on Saturday 12 March 2016 at the Hilton Adelaide.

    Tamra has a Bachelor of Medical Science, Masters of Optometry and in 2014 received the Clinical Excellence Award in Optometry. In addition to her optometry work in Port Lincoln and significant voluntary commitment, she undertakes fortnightly trips to Ceduna to give eye care to Indigenous communities and people living in remote areas. This year, Tamra aims to implement a new culturally safe eye examination procedure to benefit Indigenous communities, and a school policy to protect children’s vision.

    Congratulations Tamra from the RDWA!