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Finding qualified locum anaesthetists in remote locations can be a challenge

Photo: Finding qualified locum anaesthetists in remote locations can be a challenge
When asked about the challenges they face in back-filling permanent staff who go on leave Carolyn Adam said, “it can be challenging for a location like Katherine Hospital to find an appropriately qualified locum anaesthetist with remote experience who has a genuine interest in practicing at a remote hospital”.

Ms Adam is the Manager for the Medical Administration Unit at Katherine Hospital and is responsible for managing the staff roster and sourcing locum staff among other medical administration duties.

Located in the Northern Territory, Katherine Hospital is considered a category six in remoteness according to the Modified Monash Model (MMM).

The MMM is a classification system available on the DoctorConnect website that categorises metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and town size.
The system was developed to recognise the challenges in attracting health professionals to rural and remote locations around Australia. 

According to Ms Adams, the hospital provides general medical, surgical and paediatric care but additional procedural services, such as anaesthetics, are only provided where the practitioner is appropriately skilled.

This means that if a suitably qualified locum anaesthetist cannot be found to backfill their GP anaesthetist on leave then the service at the hospital stops.

“With the help of Australian Government-funded Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP), we are able to source quality GP Anaesthetists who are appropriately qualified and genuinely interested in working in remote hospitals like ours." 

“Rural LAP also helps cover the costs associated with locum anaesthetists as it carries with it the additional burden of travel and accommodation costs."

“I receive excellent support from the team. They are efficient with the booking process and very helpful when changes need to be made.

Rural LAP is a good resource and the quality of locums have all been great”, Carolyn concluded.

About the program

Since inception, the Australian Government-funded program has helped thousands of health professionals take much needed leave to recuperate and come back to work revitalised and ready to provide quality health services to their communities.

Rural LAP provides a cost-effective service to practices by providing health professionals to rural and remote practices for short periods of time with no extra costs to those practices.

Rural LAP is a component of the Australian Government’s rural workforce capacity agenda managed by healthcare solutions provider, Aspen Medical.

The program aims to provide targeted rural and remote support services to general practitioners (obstetricians and anaesthetists), specialists (obstetricians and anaesthetists), nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

All Aboriginal medical services throughout Australia are eligible to receive locum support.

For more information visit


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