Taking an active approach to solve a region’s doctor deficit
March 27, 2013

Rio Tinto’s Northparkes Mines has worked with local community groups to come up with a fun way to fill an important need in the community.

Around 15,000 people live in the Parkes region in the state’s Central West, but there’s a critical shortage of doctors in the area, with only one doctor per 992 people in Parkes Shire. It’s an issue that hits all parts of the community. 

To tackle this important community issue, local gold and copper miner Northparkes Mines teamed up with the Parkes Shire Council and regional health services to establish the GP Working Group. 

 

GP Cup

 

The GP Working Group came together to fill a funding gap that would help to recruit more doctors to the area. Rather than holding any old fundraiser, the GP Working Group used the strengths of the community to solve the problem. 

The group found a creative way to harness the community’s interest in sport and staying active: to hold a sports day called the Northparkes GP Cup. 

The first GP Cup, in 2009, was a resounding success, with 20 teams – totalling over 250 people – competing in five different sports. But it wasn’t just a fun day for the community: over $20,000 was raised to help recruit a much needed obstetrics specialist to the area. 

The event has grown from strength to strength, becoming a fixture on the community calendar each year and taking out the People’s Choice Award at the 2010 NSW Minerals Council Environment and Community Conference. 

By harnessing the community’s strengths to solve a problem, this world class miner has helped to build the community’s sustainable capacity, not just for today, but into the future.

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