Critical time for arrival of junior doctors in Western Sydney

Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals new junior medical officers.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has this week welcomed 151 junior medical officers (JMOs) who have started working at four of its hospitals across the region: Westmead, Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Auburn hospitals.

The JMOs join over 1,000 interns across the NSW Health system – more than any state or territory in Australia.

Interns are medical graduates who have completed their medical degree and are required to complete a supervised year of practice in order to become independent practitioners.

Westmead Hospital junior medical officers.

The new doctors receive two-year contracts to rotate between metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals to ensure the diversity of their experience. They also join different units in each hospital, including surgery and emergency medicine.

“Day one for a new intern is very special – but particularly more so this year with our JMOs joining our service during a global pandemic,” WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said.

“Westmead Hospital is the home of Australia’s first-ever COVID-19 patient. Ever since, our district’s ability to respond to the virus on all levels has been nothing short of outstanding.

“Our staff are working in state-of-the-art redevelopments at Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Westmead hospitals, which means our JMOs will be learning inside the hospitals of the future.”

Westmead Hospital medical intern Dr Kristen Piper.

Kristen Piper, from Concord, has this week started her two-year internship at Westmead Hospital.

“I really like the cultural diversity and variety of people in Western Sydney,” Kristen said.

“I have a big interest in haematology because the same condition can be completely different in two people.

“This is what I‘d love to do long term and was the reason I decided to study medicine after graduating as a physiotherapist.”

Westmead Hospital junior medical officer Dr Melissa Elias.

Melissa Elias from Wentworthville knew she wanted to be a paediatrician or general practitioner since she was a child.

“My sister suffers from a rare genetic disease and has an intellectual disability, and my younger sister recently passed away from cancer,” Melissa said.

“After seeing what they both went through, I knew this was the path I wanted to take.”

WSLHD chief medical information officer A/Professor Naren Gunja and Westmead Hospital junior medical officer Theodore Iannuzzi.

WSLHD’s acting director of medical services Peter Hockey said that adjustments have been made to WSLHD’s orientation program to ensure it is COVID-safe.

“For the second year in a row, all JMOs will receive their very own lap top,” Dr Hockey said.

“This is not only a perk of an internship at WSLHD, it also ensures our doctors are not sharing devices, creating an additional shield against COVID-19.

“Welcome to all of our new JMOs, we look forward to showing you everything you need to know about our health system.”  

For more information about the recruitment of Junior Medical Officers, visit the dedicated page on the NSW Health website: