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CPMC Forum in the Torres Strait
Representatives of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) travelled to the Torres Strait in early September to gain more understanding of rural and remote medicine and Indigenous health.
The team included Chair of the Council Professor Nicholas Talley, President of the Royal Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Mr John Batten, President Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Professor Michael Harrison, President of the College of Intensive Care Medicine Associate Professor Charlie Corke, Vice-President the Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Dr Rod Mitchell.
They were hosted by President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and James Cook University Associate Professor of Rural Medicine Dr Ruth Stewart, who lives and works on Thursday Island.
They visited the Horn Island Primary Health Centre, Thursday Island Hospital, Bamaga Hospital and Primary Health Centre. They met with staff and local people both in the health facilities and in social events. Doctors at all stages of their careers and JCU medical students shared their insights and stories and were excited to meet Professor Talley, Editor in Chief of the Medical Journal of Australia and co-author (with Simon O‘Connor) of the text book ‘Clinical Examination’.
The College presidents commented that the forum immersed them into remote health care from an organisational, financing and health care delivery. They observed the need to facilitate upskilling opportunities for procedural remote area doctors and to bolster the support networks for remote area health practitioners. They also noted the merit in promoting rural generalism and supporting the training of doctors in the extended scope required to face the challenges of rural and remote practices.