Mallacoota doctor search success with new faces for small medical clinic

Mallacoota district residents are delighted with news their community-driven search for a new doctor has been successful.

As a result of the search, Dr Mubashar Sherazi will strengthen the Mallacoota Medical Centre team, excited to bring his family to town.

Dr Sherazi’s arrival reflects the efforts of the Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (CHIRF), a community group that stepped outside the envelope to find and select their own doctors to present to the Remote Vocational Training Scheme for consideration.

CHIRF’s “Doctor Search Team” has been very visible at GP medical conferences and it was at one such event Dr Mubashar made contact.

“It’s an exciting time for my family and me,” Dr Sherazi said.

He is looking forward to working with Dr Sara Renwick-Lau, an experienced remote area GP who heads the Far East Gippsland town’s medical centre, and registrar Dr Emily Butlin. Dr Sherazi will work toward a GP Fellowship from May this year.

Dr Sherazi graduated in 1998 and so already has 20 years’ experience. He is a skilled doctor with qualifications from Pakistan, Canada and the UK, and has been working in the emergency department of Mackay Hospital, Queensland, since March 2017. It is planned he will be available for consultations throughout the Mallacoota district and surrounds from May this year.

Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he was pleased Mallacoota Medical Clinic had been able to appoint a doctor through the Remote Vocational Training Scheme.

“I’ve been a long-time supporter of Mallacoota’s efforts to secure additional  GPs. CHIRF has worked hard and shown enormous commitment to attracting and securing the best possible candidates,” Mr Chester said.

“I am sure Dr Sherazi as the third doctor will be warmly welcomed and I hope he finds his new position professionally fulfilling.”

In April 2016, the Mallacoota region attracted national headlines for its struggle to save its sole GP and medical centre.

With a population of 1063 residents – 251 aged over 70 – the coastal town is as remote as it is picturesque. The nearest hospital is at Orbost Victoria, or in Bega NSW, both two hours’ drive away. This placed unsustainable pressure on its sole resident GP, Dr Renwick-Lau.

In April 2016, Dr Renwick-Lau called a community meeting to report her practice would cease  without drastic action. She challenged the community to generate sustainable alternatives.

In response, CHIRF was formed to engage with the medical fraternity, launching its innovative Doctor Search Team.