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?

Interns

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

Only formal job applications received through online MedJobsWA portal will be considered. Emailed documents are not considered formal applications and cannot be accepted. 

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

Please include in your cover letter any information that you would like the panel to consider. For example:

  • My first preference is Bunbury Hospital. If I am not selected for Bunbury Hospital, please send my application to Fiona Stanley Hospital as my second preference. 
  • My partner, xx, and I would both like to complete our internship at Albany Hospital. If we are not both accepted to Albany please send out applications to the metropolitan hospitals. 

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)

Please note, applications may be dually assessed by WACHS and metropolitan PEHSs to facilitate collaborative provision of rural terms to interns on secondment.  Resident Medical Officers

For Resident Medical Officers in their PGY2+ years, applications for rural positions are made via the annual PMCWA central recruitment process. Resident Medical Officers employed by 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.

I hear WACHS internships are very competitive. What happens if I'm not successful?

All internships in WA are competitive and applications are assessed on merit. If you are not selected by WACHS you will go into the pool for your next preferred PEHS. WACHS has the ability to review applications first, so you will not be disadvantaged by choosing WACHS as your first preference. 

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

Country Options for 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEHS - Interns

HOSPITAL

FTE

TERMS

INTERN ROTATIONS

WACHS

Albany

5

5

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

Bunbury

5

5

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

FSH

Albany

1

1

Gen Med

Broome

2

1,2

Gen Med, Gen Surg

RPH

Bunbury

6

1,2

ED, Gen Med, Gen Surg

Hedland

1

1

Gen Surg

Kalgoorlie

5

1

ED, Gen Med, Gen Surg

SCGH

Geraldton

3

1,2

Gen Med, Gen Surg, Ortho

Hedland

1

1

Gen Med

Ramsay JHC

Albany 

1

1

Ortho (Commonwealth Medical Intern)

 

Broome

2

1

ED, Gen Med (Commonwealth Medical Intern)

 

Geraldton 

2

1

Gen Med, Gen Surg (Commonwealth Medical Intern)

















Revised March 2020. Subject to change

How do 3 year contracts work in WA Health?

Successful WA Interns are entitled to a 3 year contract under the current "WA Health System AMA Industrial Agreement 2016". The aim is to provide employment for a 3 year period but this does not limit you to work in one place for the entire contract length. 

During your internship year, you will be asked to participate in the centralised RMO recruitment process. This is where you will indicate your employment preferences following successful completion of your internship. 

If you would like to stay at your current site of employment, you will complete a simiplifed application form indicating your interest to stay at your current hospital. 

If you wish to move to another site, you will be required to complete the full RMO application process. During this process you will be asked to rank your employment preferences. Your preferred hospital/health services will review your application based on merit and offer positions according to Public Sector employment standards. 

This process allows the most flexibility and security for Interns and Residents in WA. 

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, air-conditioned and either single-occupancy or shared between singles.

Salaried junior doctors employed by WACHS are either required to source private accommodation, in which case they may be eligible for a weekly rental subsidy reimbursement, or 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 Administration) to find out local requirements regarding travel to site, accommodation and applicable entitlements. Email us at meu@health.wa.gov.au for regional contact details. 

Can I bring my pets with me?

Unfortunately, hospital provided accommodation does not allow pets. WACHS employed doctors wishing to bring their pets will need to source private accommodation, in which case you may be eligible for a weekly rental subsidy reimbursement. 

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 prior to your rural placement. 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 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 meu@health.wa.gov.au

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 is the rural Community Residency Program available?

This program offers opportunity for Resident Medical Officers employed by Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to experience community based medicine in a number of WACHS regions. In 2021, 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. More information can be found by clicking here.

*Please note rotation locations are subject to change. 

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. You will be asked if you would like to be considered for rural (and/or metropolitan) CRP placement. RMOs applying for a full time positions at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital or Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital who are interested in the rural CRP will be required to rank your preferred locations and terms (minimum of 3 choices). You must attach a short statement of interest (max 2 pages) and an updated CV (attached in the supporting documents section of the online form). Your statement together with your CV will be used to assess your rural CRP application. Email wachs.crp@health.wa.gov.au 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?

WACHS participates in a number of specialist training pathways, either based solely or mainly in the country, or as a rural rotation from a metropolitan based pathway. It is possible to do all or most of Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine training in WACHS. There are rural rotation options for those doing General Surgery, General Medicine, Anaesthetics, ICU, Obstetrics, Radiology and Ophthalmology training. 

What are the current training pathways offered by WACHS?

WACHS is currently developing a number of exciting career pathways, including the Applied Surgical Pathway in Rural Environments (ASPIRE) Program, Rural Adult Physician Training, Opportunities and Rotations (RAPTOR) Program and the Rural Generalist Pathway.

ASPIRE is a two year program for WACHS junior doctors who are interested in General Surgery. Full program details can be found here. RAPTOR is a 12 month program for WACHS Junior Doctors who are interested in rural Physician Training.

The Rural Generalist Pathway is a coordinated approach to training Rural Generalists, skilled in providing comprehensive and high quality medical care specific to the needs of rural and remote communities.

All or part of General Practice training can be done in the country, with hospital, elective and advanced skill training positions available with WACHS. 

If you are interested in learning more about the training pathways contact meu@health.wa.gov.au

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. Applications usually close in April and are organised directly by WAGPET. For more information visit the WAGPET website.

Training for 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 email 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.

What types of education and training are provided?

Each regional hospital has ongoing education and training for Interns, RMOs and Registrars. The DCT and MEO organise / provide an education calendar which includes a variety of formats; lectures, tutorials, grand rounds, junior doctor meetings, journal clubs and simulation education (e.g ALS2, PLS, simulation-based workshops). Interns are provided protected teaching time. The smaller clinical teams in rural hospitals also provides more one-on-one learning opportunities and increased scope for procedural skills practice such as lumbar punctures, chest drains and ultrasound guided cannula insertion.

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