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The appointment is a major win for the St George community, as Dr Gary Wood will stay working in the location for the duration of his training to obtain GP Fellowship, and hopefully for many years beyond.
Dr Wood was recruited under a collaborative approach by Health Workforce Queensland (HWQ), the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) targeted recruitment strategy and Goondir Health Service (Goondir).
HWQ recently met with Goondir Health Services CEO, Mr Floyd Leedie to discuss the appointment. Mr Leedie expressed the importance of having good quality health professionals available at their Service for the local community and said, “a lot of our Mob had stopped seeking medical assistance due to the inconvenience caused by not having a local GP.”
Goondir had the vacant General Practitioner position open for roughly 8 months. In collaboration with HWQ and RVTS, Goondir were able to find a suitable practitioner, Dr Gary Wood, who was able to provide a much needed service to the community, “We sincerely thank Tessa and Sandra at Health Workforce Queensland who facilitated the recruitment of this position. Obtaining the RVTS targeted recruitment Strategy funding has been a big event for us, securing Doctor Wood was something our community greatly needed.”
Mr Leedie explained that there are a variety of barriers to attracting doctors to the region. They include the stigma of working in a rural area, and that generally medical students aren’t exposed early enough in their training to the possibilities of working in remote or rural communities. Mr Leedie explained that he is keen to approach and work with students whilst they are at medical school and to expose what life is really like in rural Queensland as a health professional.
“We continue to form collaborations that positively impact communities that need health workforce the most, we take heart in knowing this is why we do what we do”, said HWQ CEO Chris Mitchell. “Our relationship with both Goondir and RVTS has been forged over many years, and it is great to see Dr Gary Woods join Goondir to serve the community.”
RVTS CEO, Dr Pat Giddings said, “For the community, there are significant benefits, including the continuity of care for patients and having a doctor in the same location for a number of years.
“It is great to hear that Gary has settled well into life in St George. Dr Wood comes from a strong background in paediatrics and has found that the medicine in St George has been interesting and rewarding. The benefit of RVTS training for the doctor is that it enables them to enhance their skills and expertise in general practice while staying working in the one location”, Dr Giddings said.
Following on from the appointment of the new General Practitioner, Mr Leedie is excited by the opportunities this offers to Goondir and the Community, he commented, “if we can show that we have a great service, then we can attract other great service providers into the community”. An example of this is Goondir Health food service in collaboration with SecondBite and Fair Share. An approach by Goondir which demonstrates the provision of a ‘holistic’ model of health care services. The partnership utilises up to 6 tonnes of food each week which is donated to communities that need it most, complementing Goondir’s general practice services and increasing community health with good nutrition.
Mr Leedie stated that “because of the relationship and repour that has been developed between Goondir Health Services and Health Workforce Queensland, there is a deeper understanding which contributed to placing Dr Wood. I believe that because of his experience and skills he could have been placed anywhere but because of our relationship and they knew we needed the right staff, they knew the kind of candidate we were looking for”.
Mr Leedie’s and Goondir Health Services’ focus is on “providing good quality health service options for the local Indigenous community”.