Student News

A doctor's preference - Maintaining health rather than managing illness

By Rural Health West

Dr Lilly Barrymore

Dr Lilly Barrymore (pictured right) always had a passion for rural WA. Lilly often went to Exmouth on family holidays to visit friends on their farms. 

When she relocated to Esperance for the GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program, she realised her place was in the country.

“I have always loved getting out of Perth and exploring WA; however, when I moved to Esperance I was blown away by the doctors and their involvement in the community, and I knew it was what I wanted to do,” said Lilly. 

“In Esperance, my colleagues deliver a baby in the morning, work in a general practice in the afternoon and ED in the evening. The competence also extends to allied health and volunteer ambulance officers. There is a real collaborative model of healthcare I have not experienced elsewhere.

“Obstetrics was sold to me by a friend claiming her days were filled with maintaining health rather than managing illness and that struck a chord with me. I love meeting patients. Being part of their whole journey from pregnancy through to the postpartum period is rewarding and special. Combine that with the importance of continuity of care in the country and it felt right for me to take part in this program.”

Lilly has relished the opportunity for hands-on learning which she believes is above and beyond what she would be learning in Perth. 

“The GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program has given me antenatal care experience with complex conditions and complex patients that would otherwise be seen in a consultant clinic in Perth. The fact that patients come to me as their regular obstetrician is an amazing learning opportunity.

“As the only junior obstetrician in Esperance, I’ve been extremely fortunate to gain surgical experience and be invited along to caesarian sections which allows me to hone my skills in a highly supervised environment.”

“To gain the most from the mentoring program means attending as many deliveries as
I can alongside my supervisor, Dr Richard Clingen, and other local obstetricians. I can’t bill patients for these attendances; however, I am able to be remunerated through the GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program which is really beneficial. My supervisor is also remunerated if I request that he supports me with my own patients,” said Lilly.

“The support I have received from Richard has allowed me to become a proficient practitioner, which is incredibly important.

I believe that to work in an isolated country town like Esperance, it is vital to have the necessary skills to manage all potential problems in women’s health.”

Lilly expects the experience she gains throughout the placement will prepare her to complete her DRANZCOG Advanced in the near future. 

“I am unable to complete my DRANZCOG Advanced in Esperance, so I will relocate to Perth, but will return!

“I love my lifestyle in Esperance; as a beach fanatic I am very much at home here. My partner is originally from Esperance so I slotted into the community well. As for my colleagues, they are the most amazing group of people I have ever worked with.” 

For more information on the GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program, please visit

The GP Obstetrics Mentoring Program, under the Medical Practitioner Procedural Mentoring and Training Program is proudly delivered by Rural Health West in partnership with WA Country Health Service (WACHS) through the Better Medical Care Initiative.

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