WELCOME: Former Bellingen resident Jack Mitchell is one of 19 new doctors joining the Coffs Harbour Health Campus medical team.
WELCOME: Former Bellingen resident Jack Mitchell is one of 19 new doctors joining the Coffs Harbour Health Campus medical team. Trevor Veale

New doctors welcomed to the coast

A FORMER Bellingen High student, Jack Mitchell, has returned to the coast along with 18 other doctors who are undertaking an internship at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Growing up in Bellingen, Dr Mitchell's mother managed the local GP practice but it wasn't until the age of 27 he decided he also wanted to pursue medicine.

"I completed a degree at the University of Newcastle, then studied at the University of Queensland. After spending my clinical years in Toowoomba, I decided to come home again,” he said.

"Everything I'd seen about the hospital was really promising.”

Throughout the program, the interns will rotate through five disciplines, including emergency medicine and surgery.

The hospital's acting director of clinical services Michael Hills will supervise the interns.

Dr Hills said the program was not only about training up specialists, but also strengthening the future of the local health workforce.

"The aim is to study here, train here, settle here and secure practitioners for the future,” he said.

"This region is growing and health care needs are growing.

"We need a specialist workforce here to help support the elderly population.”

Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said the internships were a great support for local health services.

"We as a district record just under 300 officers full time and 200 visiting officers, which has grown by 100 in the last four years,” he said.

"Our health service continues to grow and we're expecting it to continue growing with the growth in population.”

This year, 992 interns are starting at hospitals throughout NSW, which is up from 983 last year.

About 12 of the interns in NSW are Aboriginal medical graduates.

This increase has come as part of a funding commitment by the NSW Government of $107 million.



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