Mallacoota Community Doctor Search announce nurse scholarships and GP registrar

DOCTOR DOCTOR: Dr Tricia Hiley and Dr Sara Renwick-Lau show off the Mallacoota Community Doctor Search banner. Photo: Supplied.
DOCTOR DOCTOR: Dr Tricia Hiley and Dr Sara Renwick-Lau show off the Mallacoota Community Doctor Search banner. Photo: Supplied.

It has been a big month for Mallacoota’s health services, with a raft of announcements relating to the future of the town’s health care.

On Friday, November 10 recipients of the inaugural rural and isolated practice endorsed registered nurses (RIPERN) scholarships were announced to the community at a seniors dinner.

Nurses Mandy Knabe and Maddy Sands will provide after-hours medical service as they undertake additional training, providing a wider range of primary care and emergency services in the rural community as they help fill the gap in services.

The news comes after a general practice registrar was announced earlier this month, with Dr Emily Butlin set to start work in February.

The Mallacoota Community Doctor Search group is also confident of finding a new GP to support Dr Sara Renwick-Lau after setting up marquees at the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine conference in Melbourne and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners conference in Sydney recently.

“We’re still pursuing pretty aggressively,” Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund committee member Robin Bryant said.

“We had a large number of positive contacts at both conferences, particularly the Sydney conference.

“Thirty names expressed interest in working in Mallacoota, four or five of which could quite conceivably be more than just interested.”

The search group met with the newly appointed Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley and the chair of RACGP Rural Health Board, Dr Ayman Shenauda.

Mallacoota is also set to host a Remote Vocational Training Scheme pilot program, which will assist the community in finding doctors and get them into the fellowship scheme sooner.

Finally, the plans for the new medical centre have been revealed, with a development application sitting with East Gippsland Shire Council.

Plans for the centre were given a boost in July following the announcement of a $300,000 grant from the federal government.

The government will fund half the project through CHIRF, with the other half raised by the Mallacoota community, led by Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care.

The new medical centre will be built next to the centre’s current building in Maurice Ave and include three consulting rooms for doctors, a treatment room, training room, office space and a room for a nurse practitioner. Development could start as early as February.

Etienne van der Merwe

Etienne van der Merwe