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March 2011

Group of people jpegWestern District Health Service Chief Executive Officer Jim Fletcher with fourth-year medical student Tom Masters and doctors Phyo Thandar, Roya Arabi, Tom Callahan, Gillian Skardoon, Brendra Kanapathippillai, Director of Medical Services John Christie, Ummu Rauf, Miriam Athayde, Melissa Lee, Sandhya Mendon and Wanchen (Cecilia) Huo.

Hamilton provides special training for young doctors

Sixteen young doctors who want to be specialists are training at Western District Health Service’s Hamilton Base Hospital.

The number has grown from six, seven years ago.

The doctors spend between 10 weeks (hospital medical officers) and a year  (medical registrar or anaesthetic GP registrar) on rotation.

Some continue into a second year.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Fletcher said Western District Health Service gave the doctors a chance to have a broad-ranging practice in a sub-regional health centre.

The experience included the full spectrum of service delivery.

‘All the registrars and HMOs play an important role supporting medical, surgical and emergency department professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Medical registrar Roya Arabi came from Iran in 2003 and spent five years in Melbourne before coming to Hamilton as a HMO in 2010.

Dr Arabi came to Australia to attend Melbourne University with her husband, Ali.

While he completed a PhD in veterinary science, she gained a PhD in immunology. 

Settling in Hamilton with their daughter, Pardis, 4, has been a positive experience for the Arabis.

‘We like the rural life, the local community is very friendly and we are made to feel welcome by everyone,’ said Dr Arabi.

‘Director of Medical Services John Christie and other senior medical staff are completely supportive, helping us settle, and the nurses are like family.’

HMO Miriam Athayde, husband, Eber Mello, and their three sons came to Australia from Brazil in 2007.

They left a culture of violence and the trauma of having a son, 15, kidnapped.

He was returned safely after a short time but the incident prompted the decision to leave Brazil.

Dr Athayde was a practising doctor in Brazil and, after completing the required Australian professional development, came to Hamilton Base Hospital in May, 2009.

‘I feel very confident and happy working here in a small city in a rural area and feel very lucky in my first placement as a doctor in Australia to be working in this excellent environment.’ Dr Athayde said.