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4 March 2024

Something in the Ayr

Something in the Ayr

For General Practice (GP) Registrar, Dr Ashleigh Attard, there is no place like home. 

After receiving hands-on GP training and experience practising in regional and remote clinics across Northern Queensland, Dr Attard returned home to complete her final GP practice placement in Ayr. 

Ashleigh said, the decision to move home to service the community was an easy one. 

“I thought it would be nice to come back and work at home, in a community that I'm familiar with,” she said. “I wanted to give back to the community where I've lived my whole life and all my family still lives here. It was an easy decision to make.” 

During the 18-month placement at Outback Family Medicine, Ashleigh received support, supervision and training from her cousin, an experienced GP working at the practice. 

“I had that family connection to the workplace already and it was a great environment to do my training in,” she said. “My cousin was a great mentor. The practice has really great patients and staff.” 

Working as a GP Registrar in a rural community, Dr Attard gained a wide scope of practice providing continuity of care to patients with diverse clinical presentations. 

“I see a lot of patients across the spectrum from young to old,” she said. “I look after the Home Hill Nursing Home and I have a lot of patients that I go to visit once a week. 

“I have lots of antenatal, and I'm involved in the antenatal care of some of my friends from school who are having babies. 

“You really get immersed in the community, and you will know so much more about your patients, and you feel like you really are making a difference in people’s lives definitely more so in a rural town.” 

Currently, Ashleigh is completing a 12-week extension placement at Outback Family Medicine while awaiting fellowship. 

Dr Attard said, making a positive impact on the health of the community where she grew up is extremely rewarding. 

“It’s a very rewarding job,” she said. “You definitely get that feel-good feeling when you’re a GP and you get to experience that continuity of care as you see patients many times over many years.” 

Throughout GP training, Ashleigh said, that she felt well supported by her supervisors and advisors. 

“GP training was great,” she said. “I feel like I learned a lot.”  

“In the first six months, I had weekly teaching sessions with fellowed GP’s from around Townsville.  

“The sessions were fantastic and quite hands-on.  

“You also have very helpful and approachable training advisors that follow you throughout the two to three-year training program, they're always a great resource to have and refer to.  

“I always felt very well supported along the way.” 

Ashleigh said, it’s easy to find work-life balance in Ayr. 

“It was nice for my partner and I to move back to somewhere where it's a little bit smaller, a little bit slower paced, and obviously coming home to serve my family,” she said. “You can't be a good doctor if you don’t have balance.  

“I find it easier for me to find work-life balance living here. 

“I have a lot more time to spend with my family and my hometown friends.” 

After fellowship, Dr Attard plans on continuing to provide primary healthcare services to her hometown community. 

“I'll definitely continue working here for the foreseeable future,” she said. “I want to help people and give back to the community where I've lived my whole life.” 

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NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.

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