Frequently asked questions

Here you will find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

What is the application process for rural hospital positions?

For interns, applications for rural placements are made within the Postgraduate Medical Council of WA (PMCWA) central recruitment process.

Path One – Rural Hospital Internship

Select WA Country Health Service (WACHS) as your primary employer to complete your full intern year in a rural hospital site (primarily located at Albany or Bunbury).  Applicants are asked to:

  • Provide a brief statement indicating why they are interested in completing a rural internship (maximum of 350 words)
  • Rank their preferred rural sites from most to least preferred

Path Two – Metropolitan Hospital Internship with Rural Rotation/s

Select a metropolitan Primary Employing Health Service (PEHS), (i.e Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital or Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital) as your primary employer and indicate a preference for one or more rural rotations available across WACHS.  Applicants are asked to:

  • Indicate your preference for one or more rural rotations
  • Rank your preferred rural sites from most to least preferred
  • Provide a brief statement indicating why you are interested in completing a rural internship (maximum of 350 words)
  • Provide permission for your application to be provided to WACHS to collaboratively assess the selection of interns for secondment with the metropolitan PEHS

WACHS employs Resident Medical Officers in their PGY2 and PGY3+ years. Applications for WACHS Resident Medical Officer positions can be made through the PMCWA central recruitment process indicating your rural preferences. Resident Medical Officers employed directly through WACHS can access rural contracts of 6 months, 12 months and 24 months available in Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie hospitals.  

Resident Medical Officers can also access rural rotations by secondment through the metropolitan PEHS (i.e. Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital or Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital) for one or two rotations per year, including term rotations through the Community Residency Program. 

Applicants are advised to check the PMCWA and WACHS websites regularly for updated information.

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What are the terms and conditions of rural employment?

All employees of WACHS are appointed under an award which stipulates the basic conditions of your job.  Some sites may provide rural and remote specific allowances in which you can access relocation assistance, salary packaging options, accommodation allowances and other incentives. Check the DOH Awards and Agreements Website for the relevant award.

What accommodation and travel arrangements are available?

Accommodation is provided when you are on secondment to a rural hospital from a tertiary hospital. Whilst accommodation varies across regions, it is generally furnished and shared between singles.

Salaried junior doctors employed by WACHS shall be provided with accommodation by WACHS at a nominal weekly charge, in line with the WACHS Accommodation Policy.

You must make contact with each site (Medical Education Officer or Medical Services) to find out local requirements regarding flights, car transport and reimbursements. Email us at for regional contact details. 

What support is available?

At each site, you will have support from the regional Director of Clinical Training (DCT), Medical Education Officer (MEO) and hospital administration. The central Medical Education Unit (MEU) will also answer queries and provide support for any other issues. We deal with these confidentially and ask that you contact us directly on 08 6553 0856 or email

A WACHS Employee Assistance Program also operates in each region providing free, confidential professional counselling and support that is short-term and solution focused.

Where can I access rural rotations as an Intern and for how long?

Country Options for 2020










PEHS - Interns









ED, Gen Med(2), Gen Surg, Psych




ED, Gen Med(2), Gen Surg, Ortho





Gen Med




Gen Med, Gen Surg





ED, Gen Med, Gen Surg




Gen Surg




ED, Gen Med, Gen Surg





Gen Med, Gen Surg, Ortho




Gen Med

Ramsay JHC




Gen Med (Commonwealth Medical Intern)

Revised July 2019. Subject to change

How do I stay connected?

Mobile phone coverage varies from region to region and is also dependent on your carrier service.  Check whether your carrier operates in the region before travelling there. If your carrier does not have good coverage in that town or region, you may wish to organise a new or temporary SIM card with a different provider to ensure you have mobile phone access.

WACHS provides Internet access on-site.  Off-site access to the Internet for personal use is available through your personal devices.  You may need to investigate different data plans and providers that work well in that region.

What about leave?

Interns and Resident Medical Officers on secondment to a WACHS site apply for leave through their Primary Employing Health Service site.  For WACHS employees, leave is negotiated through your regional hospital site.

Where is the rural Community Residency Program available?

This program offers opportunity for prevocational doctors to experience community based medicine in a number of WACHS regions. In 2020, Community Residency Program rotations are available in Kununurra, Derby, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Hedland, Karratha, Geraldton and Narrogin.  Most posts are a combination of rural hospital and community outreach experience.

How do I apply for the Community Residency Program?

Resident Medical Officers who wish to participate in the Community Residency Program apply through the PMCWA centralised recruitment process. Include an expression of interest in your application to be considered. Email for further queries.

Can I apply to work six months in a rural hospital and six months in a metropolitan hospital?

Yes.  Resident Medical Officers requesting this option can apply through the centralised PMCWA recruitment process.  Your cover letter should include details regarding your preferences and reasons supporting your request.

I am interested in doing Specialist College training (e.g. physician, surgery) in a rural area. Is this possible?

Yes.  There are a number of vocational training places available in rural WA for trainees on specialist training programs.

I would like to be a procedural rural GP. Can I do my procedural O&G and/or anaesthetics training in a rural hospital?

You can apply for a 12 month anaesthetics training position at Joondalup Health Campus with the option to rotate to Bunbury Hospital.  For more information visit the WAGPET website.

The Basic and Advanced Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology is available at King Edward Memorial Hospital and a number of WACHS sites including; Albany, Bunbury, Broome, Hedland, Karratha, Kalgoorlie and Geraldton.

I am applying to the General Practice training program but would like to complete further rural Resident Medical Officer rotations prior to commencing my General Practice training placements. Is this possible?

Yes.  PGY2 doctors must complete a hospital training year at an accredited hospital, prior to commencing their General Practice placements. 

WACHS employs Resident Medical Officers (PGY2+) and this time can be counted as your GP/hospital year.  You can discuss this option with your training supervisor through WAGPET.  For more information please emaiil WAGPET, visit the WAGPET website or phone 9473 8200.

I am interested in Public Health prevocational training positions.

The Midwest Public Health Unit offers a 12-month position in Geraldton.  To secure one of these positions, include an Expression of Interest in your application to WACHS for consideration.


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