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Swan Hill – Mallee District Aboriginal Services Medical Clinic – TT 3-4

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

Mallee District Aboriginal Services Medical Clinic (MDAS), Swan Hill, offers a broad range of clinical health services which are culturally-safe and specifically focused on providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families, offering support and holistic healthcare to encourage patients to achieve their goals in life.

Swan Hill, with a population of around 10,000, but servicing a community of around 25,000, is surrounded by lakes, rivers and creeks and is a very popular tourism destination. The local region is recognised internationally for the number and significance of cultural artifacts and is considered to be among Australia’s richest and most important heritage areas.

MDAS is proud of its cultural heritage and operates cultural training programs, to break down barriers and build understanding of local heritage and traditions. These programs are of enormous assistance to GP trainees in developing a cultural understanding. Working in Aboriginal health is a richly rewarding experience, with GPs who work in this space valuing the special relationship they have with their patients, working with them on not only their immediate health needs, but also broader, holistic patient priorities.

MDAS is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people, with a focus on preventative health care, also providing the leadership and co-operative spirit to break down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The service offers more than 50 proactive and positive health programs to improve the health outcomes and life expectancy of the Koori people of the Mallee.

An innovative program, introduced by the service five years ago, works to strengthen families from within — a circle that’s changing lives, one family at a time. Testimonials from the latest cohort of young women graduating from Mallee District Aboriginal Services’ relationship-based parenting program have highlighted the effectiveness of intensive work on strengthening families from within.

Clinic health professionals work in a range of programs including healthy lifestyles, mental health, drug and alcohol support, counselling and preventative healthcare and Aboriginal health checks for men, women and children. They also include services such as health outreach, aged, disability, children’s placement, family/youth services, homelessness and housing services.

Other services, including from visiting specialists and allied health care professionals, are chronic care supplementary services, midwifery, maternal child health, specialist paediatrics, physiotherapy, audiology, podiatry, optometry, dietetics, nutritionist and speech therapy as well as specialist telehealth services for psychiatry and pain management.

GPs and GP trainees are well supported by the clinic’s health professionals, including Aboriginal health workers, practice staff, a chronic care nurse and registered nurses who manage general nursing, wounds, blood collection, retinal camera and grading. Additional learning opportunities for GP trainees include clinical meetings, assisting with procedures and the opportunity to do outreach work with current GP.

The practice only operates five days a week, not opening on public holidays. However, if GP trainees wish to extend their skills and add to their learning experience, arrangements can be made to work at the local hospital.

The majestic Murray River, running through Swan Hill, is lined with landscaped parks with picnic areas and playgrounds. A popular tourist attraction is the Pioneer Settlement which recreates the atmosphere of a pioneer river port town and offers paddlesteamer cruises.

The town is well serviced with amenities, shopping and transport links with two train services to and from Melbourne each day, calling in at a number of regional towns along the way, plus buses and taxis. There’s a choice of schools for every level of education and great food and wine options, with the region renowned for producing grapes and fresh vegetables.

There’s a different pace to life by the water in Victoria’s north west.

Indulge in a tour and tasting at local wineries, enjoy water sports or boating, take in the region’s history, or take up golf on the famous Murray Downs Golf Course. Renowned for its Murray River location, fresh local produce, scenic landscapes, wildlife and Aboriginal heritage — there’s so much to do and a life to live in Swan Hill.

Ripe for reflection along the Murray.

GP supervisor, Dr Ernan Hession, is also the Chief Medical Officer with Swan Hill and District Health Service, where he is based and has been clinical supervisor for medical students, HMOs and GP trainees for over 25 years.

Dr Hession has a focus on medical education and health service delivery and also works in emergency, palliative care and geriatric medicine.

“My focus on and commitment to education, is driven by the understanding of the need to ensure a skilled proceduralist GP workforce for rural areas.” he said.

“In my medical career, I’ve been able to deliver babies, manage heart attacks, manage major emergencies… I’ve been part of a much bigger organisation.. I’ve been able to get involved. You know you are needed in country practice. A country GP is a jack of all trades.”

See more about the practice here.