MORE medical students are choosing Warrnambool’s operating theatres and GP clinics to learn their skills, lifting hopes the region could be poised for a strong return of graduates.
An entire Geelong class of third-year medical students at Deakin University has listed Warrnambool as their top choice over Ballarat and Geelong this year — bringing the total number of medical students training in the city to 40.
Deakin University director of clinical studies, Associate Professor Barry Morphett, said six graduates had also taken up work in the city since Deakin opened its school clinic at South West Healthcare (SWH) five years ago.
“I think it is a success,” Associate Professor Morphett said.
“They’re going to be based at SWH but over the rotation they will also go to Timboon, Camperdown, Port Fairy, Hamilton and Portland.”
Local students from Port Campbell and Warrnambool, as well as international students from Canada, will spend the year working in medicine, surgery, orthopaedics as well as children’s and women’s health.
Fourth-year students are also working across emergency, general practice and anaesthetic fields.
While it could take 10 years for some doctors to decide whether to return to the city, the associate professor said the intern year would “sew the seeds of country life”.
Warrnambool City Council welcomed the new arrivals at a function on Tuesday night.
Council officer Phil Hoggan — who also heads up the city’s skilled migration program — said the council was selling Warrnambool “as hard and fast as we can”.
“What we’re looking to do is welcome the medical students on their arrival and their choice to study in Warrnambool, but we’re also trying to ensure there is future complex medical care in Warrnambool.”
Last October the council even went as far as to organise a bus trip and tour guide through the city for the students.