City doctors are being lured to Wallerawang for the promise of a rural lifestyle and the opportunity to take a 'holistic' health approach.
Two new doctors have begun at Dr S Kamalaharan and Associates (Integrated Primary Health Care) in Wallerawang and they hope to provide health care to a greater number of Wallerawang locals.
Doctors Zenifa Peesa and Narmatha Sivasenthan started their new jobs at the surgery in December 2018 and February 2019 respectively and are keen to spend more time in the community.
On average the doctors see 50 patients a week, an incredibly low number, according to the doctors.
"The more patients we see, the more our knowledge will increase and we want that holistic approach," Dr Peesa said.
"We have an exercise physiologist, occupational therapist and a specialist on site… with three doctors in the surgery it's pretty low numbers we are exposed to, so not good in many terms."
Dr Peesa said that both the doctors wanted to become more known to the community because many residents didn't realise there was a general practice in Wallerawang.
"Country towns are wonderful and welcoming and we are two qualified doctors who are ready to serve," she said.
Dr Sivasenthan said she wanted to change her career to become a general practitioner and wanted to get more exposure to patients with chronic conditions.
"I loved rural life and am looking forward to familiarising myself with my patients and their families," she said.
"It just gives more job satisfaction."
Dr Peesa said that not always being able to get the support of the specialists will make them more reliant on their own studies to help the people in country towns.
"When it comes to training yourself to be a more confident doctor, being in the country town you get to see more patients with the complex medical problems so that gives us better exposure and makes us more confident doctors and I love that," she said.
Dr Peesa has worked in Australia for the past six years in both country and city practices.
"In city areas you always have specialist input, so when you are having difficulty you just refer them to a specialist and I found my knowledge was being regressed," she said.
"So I moved to another area where I can use every bit of my knowledge, because being a GP is not just treating a fever or common cold, we are the first full step for any health management.
"So in a country town you don't have that constant support, but that gives us motivation, we can educate ourselves to become more confident doctors so they are the reasons I came to a rural town, not to regress but to progress."
Dr Sivasenthan said that general practice was preventative medicine, so they can scan patients for chronic diseases even if they aren't sick.
"Even before you get sick, but just need a checkup, we can do that," she said.
Dr Peesa said it is saddening that people from Wallerawang are going to Lithgow even though they are here.
The surgery has an occupational health practice and the general practice.
The doctors said the surgery not only looks at "medical issues" but treating individuals as a whole, looking at mental, social evaluations of the person, and providing support with everything.
The service is open five days a week from 9am until 5pm and are now taking both walk ins and booked appointments.
The service is also bulk billed.
About the Doctors
Dr Narmatha Sivasenthan is a graduate of the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka where she obtained her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery.
She then completed her internship in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics at two leading hospitals in Sri Lanka.
After completing her training in Anaesthesia, she worked as a medical officer at the intensive care unit. Concurrently she worked as an after hours general practitioner.
She received her Australian Medical Council (AMC) registration in 2016 and worked as a Senior Resident Medical Officer at Emergency Departments of the Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals.
During this period he also obtained her Certificate in Emergency Medicine from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.
She has a strong interest in rural and remote medicine and is working towards her fellowship in general practice.
Dr Sivasenthan is currently working towards gaining additional procedural skills and training on family planning and skin procedures.
Dr Peesa completed her Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at Rajiv Ghandi University (India) in 2008 and received her Australian Medical Council (AMC) registration in 2012.
She completed her training and is awaiting certification from the Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
She also has a Diploma in Child Health (DCH) from Westmead Hospital and has a special interest in Paediatric care.
In addition, she is interested in women's health and has completed certifications in Implanon replacements, family planning and antenatal care.
She is currently undergoing training in skin cancer treatments.
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