Student News

Mentoring program helping GP achieve his dream

By Rural Health West

Dr Andrew Parker

From northern United Kingdom to Kununurra, Dr Andrew Parker (pictured right) has covered a lot of ground to achieve his dream role of rural generalist.

After arriving in Australia in 2014, Andrew worked at the Bunbury Hospital at South West Health Campus in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and Paediatrics. It was there he discovered the role of rural generalist and decided it was his future. 

To achieve his dream role, Andrew moved to Busselton to begin his GP training, and has since transferred to Kununurra to participate in the GP Anaesthetics Mentoring Program.

“In the UK, there is no such thing as a rural generalist.When I learned about the opportunities available, it immediately made sense to me – that’s what I had to do to realise my dream,” Andrew said.

“For me, general practice was a better fit. I really enjoyed the independence, the broad range of presentations and professional development that you have access to as a GP.”

A science background and an interest in physiology and anaesthetics were the catalysts for Andrew to participate in the program and expand his skillset.

“Anaesthetics is a unique part of medicine, so I was very excited to join the program,” he said. 

“My experience in Busselton gave me good foundation skills; however, it did not prepare me for Kununurra.

I had minimal exposure to Aboriginal health, but now it is well over half of what I do. I have had to modify my practice and be sympathetic to the needs of Aboriginal people. It was an adjustment initially, but I am really enjoying it and I credit the program for the support. I have received from my mentors. 

“My primary goal in Kununurra is to transition from registrar into an independent and competent rural generalist. I have confidence that the GP Anaesthetics Mentoring Program will help me achieve that goal,” he said.

In addition to the support he receives from his mentors at the hospital, Andrew also commends the program for the funding that has made his transition to the Kimberley less stressful. 

“My family and I were very thankful for the financial support we received when we relocated from the South West. We have been able to get back to Perth for family occasions which has been really important and mentally refreshed me.” 

“I have also been able to access further training that has kept my knowledge up to date and allows me to provide better health services to my patients.”

Andrew’s passion is to care for rural communities in Western Australia and, while he intends on staying in Kununurra for the foreseeable future, he plans to explore other regions in the State. 

“Kununurra is a fantastic place to raise my children; it is safe, they are always outdoors and there is an amazing sense of community spirit,” he said. 

“My wife is also a GP who is passionate about rural health and committed to working in Kununurra. Our long-term plans are not decided and we would love to explore other parts of country WA as our children get older. 

“For me, being able to provide surgical services in remote locations so patients do not have to travel is really important and I think it is an essential skill in rural Western Australia. I am really grateful for the opportunities I have been given through the GP Anaesthetics Mentoring Program.”

If you would like to know more about the GP Anaesthetics Mentoring Program, please visit our website

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

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