Be Your Best: taking flight

Friday, March 17, 2023 be your best
Be Your Best: taking flight
By gaining his pilot license, Dr Thomas Carins hopes to improve patient care and access.

Dr Thomas Carins is training to provide vital obstetrics and gynaecological (Ob&Gyn) services to rural Australia, while operating as a senior registrar at Bendigo Health. By the time he is a fully-fledged consultant at the end of the year, Thomas hopes to be able to fly to other regional centres like Swan Hill, Mildura and Echuca for work.

“There’s definitely a demand for doctors, in particular specialists because the regional centres can’t afford to employ them full-time. It’s unfair to the patients who have to travel to Bendigo because it’s so far for them to drive. A lot of my patients are elderly so expecting them to do the travel back and forth for consultations and operations is just not fair,” he said.

To become a pilot, Thomas trains once or twice a week by studying and utilising a four-seater plan at Bendigo Airport. “We also take cross country trips to Albury and Shepparton on the weekends. The goal is also for fun of course, so if I had time off I could fly to the beach for example,” he said.

Thomas is completing ‘Fellowship training’, a type of additional, subspecialty training in a particular field. In his case, it’s urogynaecology.

“Bendigo Health has allowed me to develop the skills I want to learn. This fellowship did not exist prior to Bendigo Health allowing me to create it, with training in both Urology and Gynaecology departments,” he said.

As well as making the transition to consultancy, it’s also Thomas’s job as a senior registrar to look after the junior doctors in Ob&Gyn. “So some days we do registrar jobs, and some days we do consultant jobs, as a way to make it an easier transition to become a consultant in a hospital, with all the responsibility that requires,” he said.

Thomas did most of his training in his native Melbourne, then in Queensland at the Gold Coast and Brisbane. He came to Bendigo to initially cover a six-month maternity position and decided to stay on. “I absolutely love it here, and decided to stay on a buy a home and settle here,” he said.

The people he got to know working in obstetrics and gynaecology and the friendly country vibe around town appealed to Thomas. He also enjoyed his working relationships with colleagues so much he decided to specialise in his field.

“Most people choose their speciality based on the people you work with and how well you gel with them,” he said.

“It’s also pretty spectacular being able to help someone giving birth who needs assistance and is very vulnerable.”

Thomas has assisted in the birth of 1,000 babies and hopes to be able to fly into remote places to provide the same services to vulnerable people.

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