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30 August 2021

Going the distance for regional health services in the Far North

Going the distance for regional health services in the Far North

Patients and healthcare professionals are painfully aware of how far you may have to travel for access to treatment when you’re living in Far North Queensland. The NQRTH Doxycyclists, a group of James Cook University medical students and junior doctors, are preparing to go the distance themselves to help bring health services to the region, and they’re doing it by bicycle.

The Doxycyclists began mid last year as a group of medical students who started riding together as a way of socialising while staying active during the pandemic. It quickly evolved into so much more. For the second year running, they’re preparing to take on the QSuper Cardiac Challenge, cycling 330km from Cairns to Cooktown to raise funds for cardiac care equipment through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.

Matthias Wust is a JCU graduate and intern at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. He’s been an integral member of the group since it commenced and is excited by what it’s become.

“We’re passionate about contributing to our community in a positive and impactful way.  Not only is the Cardiac Challenge a great way to contribute to cardiac services in the region where we live and work, the ride itself is brilliant. It’s one of the best supported and organised charity rides through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country,” Matthias said.

North Queensland Regional Training Hubs (NQRTH) is proud to sponsor the team as they undertake this big challenge for an important cause. Matthias says the funding has allowed the Doxycyclists to get printed jerseys for 30 riders to train and ride in for the next two years.

“From the beginning, NQRTH has been in our corner helping to make this happen – they’ve been instrumental in turning the dream into a reality. Their role in supporting medical students and junior doctors in this adventure is a perfect illustration of their attitude and the role they play in the region,” Matthias said.

NQRTH is dedicated to promoting the range of medical training opportunities – from internship to fellowship - available in northern Queensland with the aim of addressing the shortage of doctors in the region.

“Servicing rural and regional Queensland is a passion shared by the group. Many of us grew up in these centres, and we want to give back to our home communities. Add to that, the opportunities personally and professionally to a junior doctor up here are outstanding,” Matthias said.

It’s an attitude that has extended from the hospital to the road, instilled in the Doxycyclists strong focus on building connections and exploring the region.

“The team is about fostering relationships within the junior doctor ranks and medical students by organising regular rides. The lifestyle available to doctors working in this part of the world is fantastic. There is a rich culture of active, outdoor pursuits. This ride is a prime example of what regional Queensland has to offer,” Matthias said.

So far, the team have raised over $10,000. You can sponsor the NQRTH Doxycyclists and help fund improved cardiac services for Far North Queensland. Visit to find out more.

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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