Bridge Clinic welcomes six trainee doctors through GPEX program

New faces: Doctors Megan Wild, Jonathan Heng, Sophia Gao, Amanda Brown, Katie Ridenour and Joe Smit are completing their training. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
New faces: Doctors Megan Wild, Jonathan Heng, Sophia Gao, Amanda Brown, Katie Ridenour and Joe Smit are completing their training. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Six new GPs have started a period of training in Murray Bridge, but don't be fooled into thinking they are fresh out of university.

Each has already completed six years of study, plus an internship of at least a year in one of Adelaide's teaching hospitals, and is working towards a specialist postgraduate qualification in general practice.

Over the coming months they will gain experience in everyday consulting, emergency care, anaesthetics and obstetrics, or care for pregnant women and babies.

They will also help Bridge Clinic fill out its after-hours roster.

The doctors – Megan Wild, Jonathan Heng, Sophia Gao, Amanda Brown, Katie Ridenour and Joe Smit – each listed Murray Bridge among their destinations of choice before being assigned to Bridge Clinic by GPEX, a training organisation for general practice specialists.

Dr Ridenour said she chose Murray Bridge because she wanted to hone her skills in hospital and emergency situations.

"This is a really supportive environment to learn some of those," she said.

"I have an interest in Aboriginal health, too, and it's a good place for that as well."

The variety of patients who presented to the clinic, its reputation, its facilities and its supportive staff were draw cards for the others.

The doctors gave several different reasons for specialising in general practice.

Dr Wild said primary health care was the best form of health care because GPs could keep people from having to go to hospital later.

It was also the most cost-effective for taxpayers, Dr Heng said.

Dr Gao said she was excited about building relationships with patients as they went through their journeys, and offering continuity of care.

"It's quite a satisfactory job," she said.

"You see people's families sometimes – one comes in, you see another one next time.

"It's a more holistic approach, not 'who's looking after me now?'"

Bridge Clinic partner Martin Altmann said several permanent doctors at Bridge Clinic had come through the same training program, including Jacqui Wagner and Izzy Gebler-Hughes.

"Hopefully they'll love it and eventually they'll stay," he said.

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