BENDIGO Health will recruit and retain more emergency department doctors to meet rising demand, after the hospital received the highest possible training accreditation.
The Australasian College of Emergency Medicine recently accredited the department as a 24-month training site, meaning junior doctors can do most of their emergency medicine training in Bendigo.
The hospital is one of a handful of regional hospitals across Australia which now holds the top level of certification.
The department's acting director Dr Simon Smith said staff had been working towards the accreditation for the past ten years.
"It means that junior doctors can spend a greater period of their training here in Bendigo," Dr Smith said.
"So for the emergency department, what it means is that it's going to improve our ability to recruit staff as well as retain them.
"Previously, as part of the training program, they've had to do a portion of their training in Melbourne or other larger centres. The portion of training they now have in Bendigo is much greater.
"What we need to do is try and keep junior doctors here. So they buy a house, they meet a partner, and join social groups. We know when they put their feet down, they're going to stay longer term."
Data from the Victorian Agency for Health Information showed Bendigo Health had more than 57,000 emergency department presentations in 2018-19.
There were 15,211 presentations in the July to September quarter alone - an increase of more than 1300 presentations from the same time last year.
Dr Smith said more doctors being trained in Bendigo could help ease the rising demand.
"Certainly what we would like is to build a workforce around this," he said. "The stronger the workforce - and the stronger you're able to recruit and retain staff - means we should be able to offer a higher level of care than ever before."
Ten years ago, Bendigo Health had only two specialist trainees in emergency medicine. The hospital now has 22 trainees.
"It's taken us ten years to build the training program so these trainees get exposed to excellent teaching and an excellent case mix," director of emergency medicine training Ben McKenzie said.
"It's something that's grown fantastically over time. It's a recognition of the breadth of emergency medicine that we do and the skill with which we do it."
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