The introduction of an additional general surgeon role at Griffith Base Hospital will improve continuity for patients, reduce reliance on fill-in doctors, and bring a new, dedicated medical professional to the MIA.
Any doctor who completed their surgery fellowship within the past two years can apply for the newly-created position, which the Murrumbidgee Local Health District began advertising earlier this month.
There is currently only two general surgeons working full-time at the hospital, which has resulted in a reliance on placeholder doctors, known as 'locums'.
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The hospital's director of surgery, Dr Kate FitzGerald, says this new surgeon will help reduce this reliance, which will benefit staff and patients alike.
"The big problem is you might have a locum here one week, and a different one the next," she said.
This means full-time staff have to regularly train locums on how things work at the hospital, only for them to be replaced by a new locum in need of training the very next week.
"If we've got someone here, a third surgeon, they'll be doing clinics, they'll be doing theatre lists, they'll be seeing patients frequently and patients will get more continuity in who they are seeing," Dr FitzGerald said. is keen to show a new surgeon the benefits of working in a regional location.
Having made the big switch from Ireland to the Riverina herself, Dr FitzGerald is keen to show a new surgeon the "eye-opening" benefits of working in a regional location.
"The idea is to make them realise that working as a surgeon in a rural area is actually really fulfilling, and maybe not as scary as they might think it would be," she said.
"I wasn't sure what to expect coming into it, but I've learnt that Griffith and the Riverina as a whole is a great place to live ... you get to become very involved in the community and meet so many people."
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"They have to come with an open mind, keen to learn, and be keen to see the countryside."
While the position is only a 12 month contract, Director of Medical Services at the hospital, David Tulloch, says he hopes the new surgeon will be keen to continue helping Griffith's sick and injured beyond the first year.
"It is our sincere hope that they stay beyond 12 months," he said. "If they come here for a year and like it and we think they're up to speed, we will give them a job."
The hospital is hoping to have the new surgeon treating Griffith patients by March.