Community key to securing doctor

The Kimba District Council facilitated a public meeting to discuss attracting a doctor to the town as part of the Creating Conversations for Kimba event.

About fifteen locals sat down with community engagement specialist Peter Kenyon to discuss ways the wider community could assist in efforts to attract a permanent doctor.

Mayor Dean Johnson gave an overview of the work the council and various government bodies are already doing, and said while he believed current strategies would deliver long term solutions, attracting a doctor in the short term was still a major challenge.

Mr Johnson said bodies including the Rural Health Workforce Strategy Steering Committee and initiatives including the National Rural Generalist Pathway would "have great long term effects... but it does nothing to fix our short term problem."

He said he had the opportunity to speak to some recent graduate doctors about what would convince them to move to the country, and that "eight out of ten" of their priorities were personal rather than professional.

"They want a good work life balance," he said.

He said there was a chance doctors from cities were put off by "war stories" about a lack of support, and that the community needed to "tell a better story."

Mr Johnson said Kimba had a great support system, with good facilities and strong nursing and locum support, and it was important to get that message out there.

Much of the discussion at the meeting was around how the community could sell the positive aspects of a move to Kimba and the "village" lifestyle the small town could offer.

Mr Kenyon suggested using the stories of people who had recently moved to the town to show how welcoming the community could be.

The group also brainstormed additional ways to welcome a doctor and their family to the town, with free childcare, neighbours bringing over meals and invitations to camping and fishing trips raised as ideas.

Highlighting community groups beyond the football and netball clubs in marketing to attract doctors with other interests was also raised.

The Kimba District Council has allocated funds in its upcoming budget for doctor recruitment, and is in discussions with the state government for potential assistance.