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Rural doctors converge on Emerald

10th October 2017

More than 20 doctors from James Cook University’s (JCU) General Practice (GP) training program converged on Emerald last weekend for specialist training in managing mental health.

The doctors travelled from as far north as Cooktown to as far south as St George for the workshop, which is part of JCU’s Generalist Medical Training program.

JCU Associate Professor Carole Reeve said the University values the opportunity to hold training across regional Queensland.

“This workshop provides advanced mental health training for registrars in order to prepare them to meet the increasing need for mental health services across Australia,” she said.

There are six local doctors from the JCU program currently working full time in Emerald, including four at the Emerald Hospital, and another two who are working in private General Practice.

The flow of JCU doctors into the town over the past couple of years has helped build the medical workforce at the Hospital, which now has permanent doctors on staff.

Director of Medical Services at the Emerald Hospital, Dr Julieanne Graham said it’s always been difficult to attract doctors to rural areas, and the value of the program in addressing the doctor shortage in Emerald can’t be underestimated.

 “Within four short years the training program has built the medical workforce at Emerald Hospital from substantially reliant on locum doctors to self-sufficient, with 12 permanently appointed doctors currently working at the Hospital,” she said.    “Six doctors have completed their training as Rural Generalists, and another five will complete their training within the next two years. 

“Most of these doctors grew up in outback Queensland and all have a passion for rural medicine and supporting their local community,” Dr Graham said.

Associate Professor Carole Reeve said she expects that holding events such as the weekend’s workshop in regional Queensland will help attract more doctors to the area.

 “I attended a workshop in Mount Isa 13 years ago and enjoyed it so much I have been working in remote areas ever since,” Associate Professor Reeves said.

For more details on GP training with JCU visit



Image 1: JCU Generalist Medical Training team in Emerald for a mental health workshop, Professor Peta-Ann Teague, Professor Paula Heggarty, Dr Ewen McPhee, Associate Professor Carole Reeve and Dr Nick Hummell

About GP training with JCU

James Cook University’s College of Medicine and Dentistry is contracted by the Australian Department of Health to deliver the Australian General Practice Training program in North Western Queensland. The AGPT program is a vocational training program for medical graduates pursuing a career in General Practice.

Further information

Please contact Eleanor Gregory, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry - Communications and Engagement. / 0418 655 994

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