Push for young doctors to go rural

NEWLY qualified general practitioners toured Bendigo on Saturday as part of a national push to attract doctors to rural and regional areas.

The Go Rural Victoria tour was organised by the not-for-profit Rural Workforce Agency.

The 20 GPs visited the Tristar Medical Group in Eaglehawk, the Bendigo library and cafe The Good Loaf before going on to Castlemaine.

In Bendigo they heard from a local GP and Bendgio & District Aboriginal Co-operative health and well-being manager Shane McLennan. 

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria communications manager Tony Wells said the aim of the tour was to highlight the benefits of living and working outside of Melbourne.

"One of the things we want to show them is them is the beauty of rural Australia but also introduce them to local doctors and healthcare workers," Mr Wells said.

"It's about falling in love with rural medicine."

Mr Wells said there was a shortage of doctors in regional and remote areas, and the program aimed to correct the distribution of medical practitioners.

But Mr Wells said working in regional areas offered many advantages, such as a diverse range of clients and cheaper property prices.

He also said a recent study showed that rural doctors earned 11 per cent more than city doctors.

Married couple Gwendolym Liow and Jon Teo, who are both GPs, were on Saturday's tour and said they were seriously considering relocating to Bendigo from Melbourne.

Mr Teo, who is from Singapore, said he had a sentimental attachment to Bendigo as his parents met here when both were living and working in the city several decades ago.

He said Bendigo was very appealing to he and his wife.

"It's a very nice town ... like a metro community but without the traffic," he said.

"We want to move to a smaller community and start a family."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that in 2011 on average there were 227 GPs per 100,000 people in major Australian cities, while only 144 GPs per 100,000 in regional areas.

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