Our Stories, Showcase on practices, Showcase on priority practices

Geelong – Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Health Service – TT 3-4

This practice will accept applications from Training Term (TT) 3-4 registrars.

Wathaurong Health Service is part of Wathaurong Co-operative, a community controlled organisation providing services to Aboriginal families living or in transit in Wathaurong’s traditional boundaries.  It offers support and assistance, with access to a range of culturally appropriate health, education, employment and cultural services and also contributes to improvements in community wellbeing and to build the capacity of the community to control its own affairs and achieve self-determination.

The co-operative supports people with stable housing, support with the justice system and maintaining independent living for Elders and people with disabilities, and connects Aboriginal people with their culture, language and community. It provides holistic, culturally secure services that contribute to a resilient health community.

The medical service provides a one-stop-shop in healthcare to its community, working closely with a range of community services to provide well-balanced social and emotional care to individuals and families.

Working at Wathaurong enables GP trainees to gain insight into the rich culture of the local Aboriginal people, the Wathaurong people and the difficulties faced by generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in accessing appropriate healthcare. They will also have the opportunity to expand their clinical and procedural skills with the wide scope of practice and continuum of care offered by the service.

GPs at Wathaurong enjoy being part of a team environment, working closely with nursing staff, Aboriginal health practitioners, health workers, clinicians and administrative staff.

Clinic services offer well-rounded care including maternal child health, chronic disease nurse and health worker, maternity services, diabetes educator, home and community care support services, pathology, dental staff and visiting allied health to support patients in taking control of their health. Specialists include endocrinologist, obstetrician, paediatrician and a psychiatric registrar.

A wellness and recovery team offer complete mental health care with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, AOD workers, intervention workers, mental health workers and more.

GP trainees who enjoy working in a team environment will enjoy the warm, welcome at Wathaurong. Additional learning opportunities for GP trainees include clinical meetings cultural education and assisting visiting specialists. An opportunity to work in the visiting paediatric specialist clinic is available to GP trainees, which provides a higher level of education and experience in community paediatrics.

Nursing staff assist with chronic disease checks, liver checks, health assessments, general nursing assistance and the maternity service. The clinic is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and also provides a weekly outreach service to Colac, with doctors assisted by a nurse and/or health worker.

Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city, only an hour from Melbourne and a short drive from popular beach-front communities on the Bellarine Peninsula as well as being the gateway to the famous Great Ocean Road.

Dive in, with the world-renowned Great Ocean Road on your doorstep.

Geelong is a vibrant, bustling city offering a wonderful lifestyle on the sea, with a range of cultural treats to discover.

Explore historic Cunningham Pier and 19th century carousel, as well as the sea baths and Baywalk Bollards – life-like sculptures that dot Eastern Beach shoreline.

A bit of everything in Victoria’s coastal south west.

GP trainees will be supervised by five experienced GPs, with varied special interests including mental health, Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT) and women’s health.

Senior GP supervisor, Dr Ed Poliness, has had a long history in Aboriginal health and has practiced both rurally and remotely across Australia. He was recently awarded the prestigious Victorian Rural Health Award for Closing the Gap, in recognition of his significant contribution to providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“I’ve been working in Aboriginal health generally for about 20 years and I love working in an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation (ACCO),” said Dr Poliness.

“Members drive and decide the important things in their health so it’s a great area to work in.

“The health service puts together a team that are experts in different areas, and you get to work with Aboriginal health workers who actually understand their patients’ needs,” he said.

“They can often translate things to a doctor which they might not know because they really understand what’s going on for that person and what their needs are.”

See more about the practice here.