Thanks to a well thought out long term recruitment strategy, North West Hospital and Health Service welcomed two new physiotherapists this year.
Physiotherapist Clinical Leader, Lynda Jones says it has been hard finding permanent physiotherapists.
“We have had to rely short term contracts to fill our positions which means we’re constantly training up new staff, it’s not an ideal situation,” Ms Jones said.
A huge sweetener has been added by Allied Health Professionals’ Office of Queensland, providing funding for 11 remote positions across the state.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for graduates and early career professionals, and we’ve managed to attract two under this program.
“They will learn so much more here, than in a large centre where they don’t get the variety of cases they will get here,” Ms Jones said.
Theirs is the only acute physiotherapy service between Alice Springs and Townsville, apart from McKinlay Shire MPHS.
“Previously NWHHS has been fortunate to attract 12 months each of funding for a dietitian, a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist. The current round has AHPOQ funding an Allied Health Rural Generalist Training Position for two years and supporting the level 1 training towards a Graduate Diploma for our own HHS funded Physiotherapy Rural Generalist trainee,” Ms Jones said.
The positions have to be associated with a service delivery project, and the NWHHS proposed to expand their physiotherapy services into Emergency Department and the Fracture Clinic.
Although the NWHHS was successful in gaining one position under the scheme, Ms Jones managed to convert a second position, already vacant, to the adopted model.
“That position will establish an exercise group for chronic pain patients, with the aim of reducing the waiting time for Out Patients Physiotherapy services.
“We have the room here, and the equipment, at our physiotherapy gym at Mount Isa Hospital; we just needed the staff to run it, and now we have!” said Ms Jones.
Ms Jones hopes the new recruits will fall in love with the place “like I did”. She came to the NWHHS from private practice in Mount Isa in 2013.
“I had no idea of the skills I would learn here, and the opportunities and experiences have been so great. These new recruits are going to get a fantastic grounding in all sorts of areas.
“They will need clinical courage, good networking skills, so they can call up more senior practitioners around the State for advice, and they need to know what’s outside of their scope as well.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for a new graduate or early career physiotherapist, and I’m thrilled we’ve been able to fill these two positions,” Ms Jones said.