‘WHY not become a GP in Tamworth?’
A few years ago it would have been a laughable thought for Jessica Chapman and her university cohort from Sydney.
But now, Dr Chapman is one of 22 new medicos who’ve begun their GP specialist training in Tamworth this year.
Regional practice was not pitched or suggested to Dr Chapman during her uni years and it wasn’t something on her radar until later on in training.
“If someone had told me at the start of my training that I was going to be a GP, I would’ve laughed at them,” she told the Leader.
“It’s a big difference between being a rural GP and a GP in the city.”
Dr Chapman’s husband wanted to move to a regional area, which helped the cause, but the young doctor said access to training was the key to open the door for more medically minded people reluctant to leave the city.
“You can’t come out here and specialise and spend your time out here,” she said.
“They’re trying really hard to make it something.”
While the lifestyle tipped Dr Chapman to Tamworth, being able to have a long term influence on her patients’ health was a major factor in specialising in general practice in regional NSW.
It has also blossomed into a passion for palliative care; a specialty Tamworth and the New England region is still crying out for.
“People think palliative care and they think dying patients,” she said.
“It is a lot more than that and it’s a lot more looking at a patient and working out ‘okay, what parts of your life do you really enjoy and how could we make that a part of your life for as long as possible’.
“I think it’s rewarding because people allow you to be part of a time of their life where they are really, really vulnerable.”
The influx of GPs in town join a record intake of 20 interns at Tamworth hospital this year.
Dr Chapman said it was a better place to learn compared to metro hospitals.
“People have really good pass rates when they come here,” she said.
“At Nepean, I very rarely saw my bosses, maybe once a week.
“As a medical team in Tamworth, they are there most days and they make a big effort to teach every morning.”