Medical interns boost health in the Illawarra

Heathcote MP Lee Evans and Kiama MP Gareth Ward with Jacqueline Pearson, one of 63 new medical interns. CHRISTOPHER CHAN
Heathcote MP Lee Evans and Kiama MP Gareth Ward with Jacqueline Pearson, one of 63 new medical interns. CHRISTOPHER CHAN

The newest batch of medical interns for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven has started work, adding 63 new medicos across the region.

The interns were briefed about their two-year program at Wollongong Hospital’s Health Education Centre yesterday.

The first year  will give the doctors experience in emergency, surgery and general medicine. The second year is about refining their career paths. 

Fifty interns have been placed at Wollongong Hospital and the remaining 13 at Milton Hospital and Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital. 

University of Wollongong School of Medicine graduates make up 40per cent of the interns, with the remainder from across the country. 

UOW medicine graduate Dr Tristan McAlpine, 31, has been placed at Wollongong Hospital.

“Because I’ve been trained in the Wollongong area it’s good to be able give back to the community and the local health service,” he said. 

Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who joined Heathcote MP Lee Evans in welcoming the interns yesterday, said it was pleasing to see the number of local medical students now interning in the area. 

“It’s great to know we have a facility that can train doctors, nurses and clinicians and provide the best possible medical care that we can in the Illawarra,” he said.

UOW graduate Dr Shelley Griffiths, 29, was born and raised in Wollongong and can’t wait to  start.

“I’ve always wanted to study medicine and I feel like I’m doing something fulfilling and worthwhile,” she said.

Mr Evans said it was a great opportunity for the interns to experience the hospital upgrades and facilities available in the Illawarra. 

“They are going to see a real change in the medical care available in the region, it’s fantastic,” he said.

The director of pre-vocational education and training at Wollongong Hospital, Dr Rockey Lui, said many of the students had chosen the Illawarra in their applications to the NSW Health Education Training Institute. 

They included Christine Rizkallah, a 22-year-old medical student from Bond University on the Gold Coast, who said  she was particularly excited about going to Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital for general medicine. 


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