AMS Rockhampton and Mt Morgan Placement

20 October 2022

Blog Images Sonyand Raya

Dr Raya Adiba Haque and Dr Sony Azam, husband and wife, were doctors at Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals before taking up their new roles with Bidgerdii Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service earlier this year. Dr Haque is working at the Rockhampton practice and Dr Azam is at the Mt Morgan practice. These were important vacancies to fill as an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), and Mt Morgan is also highlighted as a priority area in our annual Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA). Naomi Wallace, Health Workforce Queensland's Regional Coordinator, assisted with the placement process and relocation. We spoke with Dr Haque earlier this month to see what sparked her interest in applying for the role in Rockhampton and how she is settling into her new community.

How did you find out about the General Practitioner vacancy with Bidgerdii Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Services in Rockhampton and what interested you in the role?

I always had the plan of working in a regional area as general practitioner as it gives the opportunity to be an integral part of patient’s health and offers the luxury of practicing a wide variety of medicine without narrowing the scope of practice to a particular field. On top of it, Indigenous health has always been my special interest and I am passionate about achieving health equity through ‘Closing the Gap’. That is why, when I found out about the vacancy in Bidgerdii Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Services in Rockhampton through Naomi Wallace from Health Workforce Queensland, I did not delay putting up my expression of interest to work with them.

What was the placement process like? 

In one word, smooth as possible. The clinic arranged an induction program which helped us (my husband has also joined in the same clinic as a GP) to gradually transition from hospital to GP setting. All the supportive colleagues and staff made the transition easy and enjoyable for us which could be very stressful otherwise.

How did the relocation from Hervey Bay/Maryborough go?

Relocation is always hard, let alone when you are moving with a prep going kid! However, we managed well as we were lucky to get support from our family and friends. The relocation support from Health Workforce Queensland was a good back up too. After moving here, it did not take long to fall in love with Rockhampton, the city of 300 days of sunshine.

What has been the most rewarding part of working with the AMS in Rockhampton so far?

Heart-warming acceptance from patients and their family.

And what is your favourite thing about living in the Rockhampton region?

Quite a few to name - from chatting to chimpanzees at the zoo, exploring ancient caves, a scenic drive to Mount Archer National Park or affordable farm stays close to city has been all our weekend favourites so far.

Finally, what have you found are the main differences between your work with the AMS and your work within the hospitals in Hervey Bay and Maryborough?

Very different! You start from the end of acute hospital management. All we wrote in hospital discharge summaries for the GP to follow up is now on me to act upon and continue from there. It can be very challenging sometimes however, I believe if you keep in mind of providing the best possible patient care, you can climatize to any of the working environment with time.

Image: Below - Rockhampton, taken from Mount Archer. Above - Dr Raya Adiba Haque and Dr Sony Azam