The Rural Medical Workforce Programs provides training and skills maintenance pathways to doctors with advanced skills who will (or currently) work as general practitioners to meet the needs of communities in regional and rural Victoria. The story of Dr Abdulrahman illustrates the importance speciality trained GPs who provide clinical service requirements to meet community needs.
Dr. Saif Abdulrahman was born, raised and completed his medical degree in Iraq. He migrated to Australia in 2009 and started his first job as a resident in the Emergency Department in Ballarat Base Hospital. He was very passionate about his work at Emergency Departments in many hospitals and decided to complete an Advanced postgraduate Diploma of Emergency Medicine with the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM).
He went on to finish his training in General Practice/Family Medicine, FRACGP in 2017, through the RVTS program. During his training in a rural area, he realised the need for doctors with advanced knowledge and skills in different aspects of medicine such as skin disease (Dermatology) and anaesthesia, so he joined the Australian Institute of Dermatology and finished his Diploma of Dermatology, which he says “was one of the greatest things that I have done so far”.
Dr Abdulrahman was inspired to apply for the Advanced Rural Extended and Advanced Procedural Skills (REAPS) post in Anaesthetics at Ballarat Health because he wanted to meet the needs and requirements of his community. He says “it is rewarding to see the community’s appreciation when you are able to offer them medical treatment and procedures in their own town without travelling long distances, particularly considering population groups such as the elderly and the logistics involved.” In addition “many of the existing procedural GPs in town are close to retiring and the continuity of providing vital services such as anaesthesia for patients is fundamental for an expanding population.” He looks forward to the training as he feels thirsty to learn and advance his skills and “GP never stops learning”.
Working in Colac, “you become part of the community and one makes every effort possible to trying to solve their problems” he says. “People in Colac appreciate the family GP a lot, and by default some families consider their GP part of their family. I can see the happiness in my patient’s eyes when I mention to them that most of their elective procedures can be done here in Colac without having to travel”.
“Living in a rural area like Colac, should not mean lack of service” says Dr Abdulrahman. “There are many people living around Colac and most of them are really hard working individuals who contribute in the production of local produce in dairy, meat and wood industries, delivering these all over Australia. The Colac community deserves someone to look after them, as all people deserve the best care possible” he says. Dr Abdulrahman is glad that after he completes his REAPS Advanced post he will be “able to minimise this gap in healthcare to a certain degree, by reducing the load on the public secondary/tertiary hospital with long waiting lists for minor procedures/treatment”.
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