Central Australia Health Service specialities and rotations

Medicine positions in CAHS

The Department of Medicine at Alice Springs Hospital accommodates in-patient admission units of General Medicine, Renal Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a ten-bed Intensive Care Unit with Intensivist staff.

Onsite consult specialties include Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Infectious Diseases, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Palliative Care, Alcohol and Other Drugs.

Visiting Medical Specialities include Haematology, Oncology, Dermatology, Hepatology, Gastroenterology, Neurology and Sleep Medicine.

General Medicine Unit

General Medicine in Alice Springs is an exciting area in which to work – true, acute General Medicine with few sub-specialty admission units, it is an ‘all comers’ unit.

Almost 84 per cent of patients admitted are Aboriginal, many from very remote parts of Central Australia. Patients often have limited English and differing health beliefs, so working in such a cross-cultural context is both rewarding and challenging.

Alice Springs Hospital is also a referral hospital for the smaller Tennant Creek Hospital, 500 kilometres to the north.

Patients referred from remote Aboriginal communities when their care needs exceed those of the primary and public health care centre also are admitted following retrieval by The Royal Flying Doctor Service. The hospital has strong links to hospitals in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin.

The General Medical workforce includes Consultant Physicians, many with dual training and a sub-specialty interest. The registrar workforce is a combination of locally employed registrars (a mix of BPTs and ATs) and rotating Basic Physician Trainees from Royal Adelaide Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre and Lyell McEwan, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Sydney) and Barwon Health (Victoria).

There is an extensive education program incorporated into the Department of Medicine, including whole-of-department sessions, and sessions directed at junior staff. Registrars are involved in all aspects of teaching and there is also a strong focus on research, with trainees encouraged to partake in research – either smaller scale projects, or by becoming involved in one of the larger ongoing projects.

The hospital has research affiliations with Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, which has an onsite facility, and the Menzies School of Health Research. Flinders University has a campus situated in the hospital site as part of their Northern Territory Medical Program.

Basic Physician Training

The hospital is a Level 1* accredited teaching hospital, where 12 of 36 months of basic physician training can be completed and BPT positions are available to trainees PGY2 and above.

Trainees have access to the experience of General Medicine as well as rotations with sub-specialty focus: Nephrology, Alcohol and other Drugs, Intensive Care, Geriatrics, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Oncology.

You can contact Dr Simon Quilty, Director Physician Training (BPT) by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

*The hospital is in the process of gaining accreditation as a Level 2 teaching hospital – allowing 24 months of Basic Physician Training to be completed – please contact for further updates.

Advanced Physician Training

Within the Department of Medicine there a number of positions available to Advanced Trainees:

  • General Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Infectious Diseases (secondment from Barwon Health)
  • Palliative care (accredited for the six month RACP Diploma in Palliative Care)
  • Intensive Care
  • Alcohol and other Drugs

All positions are accredited for General and Acute Care medicine and are open to trainees in other specialties looking for experience in Aboriginal and Remote medicine. Most trainee positions have the opportunity to be involved in outreach services and health centres that service some of the most remote communities in Australia.

There are two accredited Nephrology training positions. The Cardiology, Endocrinology and Palliative Care positions are undergoing assessment for approval to become accredited sub-specialty positions.

In addition to core General Medicine, the following accredited General and Acute Care Medicine rotations are available:

  • Group A rotations – ICU, Acute General Medicine
  • Group B rotations – General Medicine, Nephrology
  • Group C rotations – Endocrinology, Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Palliative care, Alcohol and other Drugs

Trainees are encouraged to design a one or two-year training program, allowing them to experience different areas of medicine within Central Australia.

The hospital currently has a Cardiology Registrar position that is accredited for General Medicine and is in the process of being accredited for Cardiology advanced training.  This is a popular and sought-after term, and General Medicine trainees should apply early.

Cardiology is a growing department with a strong focus on non-interventional cardiology. The high burden of cardiovascular disease and rheumatic heart disease remains an attraction for those interested in making a difference in the Territory, and obtaining significant exposure to echocardiography and valvular heart disease.

There are two resident Cardiologists at the hospital, with additional visiting specialists from Adelaide and Melbourne. There is a strong working relationship with Cardiology services at Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre (South Australia) who provide Alice Springs Hospital with angiogram and revascularisation services, specialist visits (including specialist electrophysiology) and Cardiac Surgery.

Cardiology services include a fulltime Transthoracic Echocardiographic Service and Transoesophageal echocardiography. Functional testing in the form of Exercise Stress ECG, Stress/Pharmacologic Echocardiogram and CT Coronary Angiography and Cardiac MRI are available. The Cardiology Registrar is actively involved in the provision of all services as well as Cardiology Outpatient clinics.

With the high prevalence of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Central Australia this is an excellent opportunity to gain extensive echocardiogram experience, and Cardiology Registrars are strongly encouraged to partake in echocardiogram training and service provision.

There is also an outreach service, which consists of a cardiologist, a registrar, an echocardiogram technician, and a cardiac nurse educator. This service regularly visits remote Aboriginal communities to provide clinical and echocardiography services, allowing trainees to partake in a unique experience.

There are opportunities to be involved in research conducted through the hospital, and trainees are encouraged to initiate smaller projects or become involved in larger ongoing projects already running.

You can contact Dr Simon Quilty, Director of Physician Training, by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

The hospital has one non-accredited Endocrinology Registrar position, generally filled by Advanced Trainees in General and Acute Care Medicine. Approval for Accredited Advanced Training positions in Endocrinology is pending.

The expanding Endocrinology and Diabetes team will consist of two endocrinologists from 2021, complemented by two Diabetes Nurse Educators. Hospital work involves outpatient clinics (both diabetes and endocrinology), and ward consults of complex patients, with the registrar working closely with the diabetes educators.

There is also the option of outreach diabetes clinics involving complex patients with multiple comorbidities, often occurring in a diverse and sometimes challenging environment, providing an immensely rewarding and unique experience.

You can contact Dr Elna Ellis, Consultant Endocrinologist by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

Practising General Medicine in the Northern Territory is an exciting and challenging opportunity due to the young age of patients and the complexity of their co-morbidities, as well as the linguistic, psychosocial, and cultural circumstances.

Trainees have access to a variety of presentations in General Medicine as well as rotations through subspecialty areas not readily available to non-subspecialty trainees in larger centres, including senior trainee positions in Nephrology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Infectious Diseases, Intensive Care and Palliative Care.

You can contact Dr Stephen Brady, Director of Medicine by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

The hospital has two accredited Advanced Trainee positions, and one non-accredited position (available to other RACP subspecialty trainees and trainees of other colleges, i.e. CICM) in Renal Medicine.

Renal medicine is one of the most fascinating areas of medical practice in the Territory. In addition to ward-based care the renal team provides a clinical service to a large geographical region across Central Australia. Registrars travel to Tennant Creek, Yuendumu and smaller communities to conduct clinics.

As well as an eight-bed dialysis unit within the hospital there are patients on home dialysis and two community satellite dialysis units in Alice Springs, and one in Tennant Creek, which a registrar and consultant visit regularly. There are also remote dialysis services.

Registrar clinics include a weekly chronic kidney disease clinic and transplant clinic, while trainees become skilled in vascular access techniques, renal biopsies, management of peritoneal dialysis catheters and fistulas. They are also involved in the weekly interventional nephrology session where the unit provides angiogram, angioplasty and fistuloplasty services. There is a strong education program both within the renal department and as part of the Department of Medicine teaching.

You can contact Dr Cherian Sajiv, Head of Renal Unit by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

The hospital has one non-accredited Palliative Care Registrar position, generally filled by Advanced Trainees in General and Acute Care Medicine, but open to trainees from other specialties and colleges (e.g. GP/ACRRM, ICU etc.).  Approval for Accredited Advanced Training positions in Palliative Care is pending.

Once again, this is a sought-after term and trainees should enquire early.

Palliative Care in Central Australia is a distinctive training opportunity for palliative medicine, and the team has a passionate commitment to providing excellent palliative care to the widespread community. The majority of patients are Aboriginal, and many are traditional people from remote communities. The Palliative Care registrar is supported to provide culturally safe care and to understand the powerful social determinants of health in Central Australia.

There is a new 10-bed inpatient palliative care facility, as well as a strong and well integrated consultation service that supports timely referrals from inpatient teams. In addition to medical oncology, the team works with the general medical teams, renal services, Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit, and the retrievals team.

Alice Springs Hospital is linked with Tennant Creek Hospital and Royal Darwin Hospital, and has strong connections to Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre as tertiary referral centres and hosts visiting specialists from these hospitals.

The registrar positon involves community visits locally and to remote communities.  A rotation in Alice Springs is an unforgettable experience that will teach applicants clinical and communication skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their career.

You can contact Dr Christine Sanderson, Palliative Care Physician by emailing MedicalRecruitmentASH@nt.gov.au.

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Last updated: 23 December 2020

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