Finding home in regional Queensland

Dr Luke McIntosh

Dr Luke McIntoshWhen asked how he knew he was headed in the right direction in life, Dr Luke McIntosh said it’s a combination of the little things that make you believe you are on track.

“My dad came to visit me recently and decided to go down to the pub for a drink.

“He came home and told me he’d met one of my patients, and that they were so grateful I was able to save their eyesight after a workplace accident.

“It’s a bunch of little stories like that, that make me feel glad I became a GP,” he said.

Dr Luke McIntosh is one of two rural GPs based in Mundubbera.

His passion to serve and help the community is strong; despite not having any connection to the town before his medical training.

Luke grew up in Geelong, Victoria and would often travel to Torquay to visit his grandparents.

“I think visiting the smaller coastal towns instilled a sense of community and enjoyment in me from a young age, so that’s probably what triggered my sense of belonging in regional areas,” he said.

Despite not knowing what career path to choose, seeing his mum navigate her way through a breast cancer diagnosis led Luke to develop a strong desire to help others and appreciate the value of good quality GP care.

Luke was accepted into UQ’s medical program in 2013, but deferred his study for one year to stay in Victoria and be with his family as his mum progressed into palliative care.

“Witnessing her journey and seeing how she was cared for by multiple specialists really drove me to be an advocate for people in that end-of-life stage,” he said.

Luke completed his final two years at the Bundaberg Regional Clinical Unit before accepting an Internship with Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service in Bundaberg.

“I felt comfortable in Bundaberg; I knew the staff and educators in the region, bought a house, built a close group of friends and became an umpire in the local AFL competition,” he said.

While there, Luke was instrumental in helping organise additional support and training for medical students as part of his tenure as President of the Junior Medical Association Bundaberg, and these programs still run five years later.

He took an interest in rural generalism, mental health and end-of-life care, which proved to be vital skills when he took up a GP role in Mundubbera in 2020.

“Working in a regional setting, I found people need someone to help them through their journey, whether it’s a mental health challenge, cancer or end-of-life care.

“You can see how much the patient and their family really appreciate it when you can provide local care, take their pain away and manage their suffering,” he said.

In 2022, Luke wants to reach out to Mundubbera youth with preventive health education and distil the myth that visiting a doctor when you’re ill is a scary experience.

Luke also hopes to get back on the squash court more often and ensure that everyone knows that AFL is the superior football league.

Last updated:
26 April 2022