IT'S tough to get doctors to stay in the bush.
Barton Lane Practice has bucked the trend, putting five new general practitioners on the books.
A GP in a country town often does more diagnosis and management than their city counterparts, because specialists can be hours away.
Part of that means looking after someone from before they are born through to end-of-life care, co-director David Lockart said.
"It's not just scripts, coughs and colds it's really looking at whole-of-person care," he said.
"You tend to be with one GP and the model says if you are with one GP or practice you tend to have better health outcomes.
"Actually getting to know the person over a whole lifetime is just part of the joy."
The centre has been understaffed for some time, which meant just trying to get through the day's emergencies.
With five extra GP's on board the plan is to look at more health promotion, including their 1000-day project that aims to improve pregnancy and early childhood care.
Finding rural doctors has been on the radar of the federal government for some time, it's just announced a new employment model for rural generalist trainees.
The pilot will be trialled in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, and would allow them to keep their employee benefits and entitlements when they leave the hospital setting.
At the moment, doctors who choose to leave the hospital to continue training as a rural generalist lose their entitlements.
Among the new doctors is Darla Grace, who moved from rural QLD to take up the job in Tamworth.
"It's your doctor who is looking after you long-term," she said.
"Barton Lane is involved in future-doctor training and they care about their patients.
"I didn't want to come somewhere where people are just a number, I've been a patient myself and you don't want to be just churned in and out."
As a rural GP, the job is much more about coordination of care.
It's not just treatment of acute illnesses, it's coordinating therapy for cancer patients, looking after mental health and carer's stress in the family, Dr Grace said.
"A lot of GP work is about preventative health, we know that by the time you get to hospital to treat a heart attack your outcomes aren't great.
"If we can start 15 years before to do things like exercise, cut down on cholesterol, avoid getting diabetes - that person's health outcomes are going to be so much different.
"It's treating things before they become problems."