Above: Sharon Simpson – Narrabri Health Service Manager.

The Narrabri Hospital has been looking for procedural medical officers, such as an anaesthetist, for at least six years but is having difficulty finding a doctor who fits the criteria and wants to move to regional Australia.
“So we have been actively trying to recruit doctors who have actually got a procedural skill such as anaesthetic, or obstetrics, or surgery but without much success so far, unfortunately,” said Narrabri Health Service Manager Sharon Simpson.
“We’ve had quite a bit of interest, we’ve interviewed people and then they may not pass the exam, because they have to do different things to be registered in Australia, particularly if they’re overseas trained so we haven’t been very lucky.
“It’s about getting the right person with the right skills and also the right fit.”
When long-serving anaesthetist and GP, Dr Moroney retired at the start of this year, the Narrabri community was left with one permanent anaesthetist, Dr Pallav. However, Dr Pallav doesn’t live in Narrabri and is here about three weeks per month.
Mrs Simpson said Narrabri Hospital has been relying on locum anaesthetists for a long time and stressed that Hunter New England was lucky to have a locum service.
Mrs Simpson said that regrettably a locum anaesthetist who was organised for January 10 to January 22 this year had fallen through but the Hospital had plans in place.