A NEW specialist service has vowed to cut wait times for patients in Tamworth with two ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons joining the ranks.
Regional Specialists Tamworth will open its doors next month with a hope to break down barriers preventing early intervention in rural health.
Robyn Chaffey and Dr Mian Bi have worked in the emergency department (ED) at Tamworth hospital for a number of years and see firsthand the fallout of a paucity of specialty services.
“People have very little ability to stay in Newcastle for weeks on end,” Mrs Chaffey said.
“When they come home, ED is their first port of call; if something goes awry with their ENT intervention they’ve had in John Hunter, then we have to transfer them back, so it’s extremely disruptive for the patients and extremely costly on the health service.”
The doctors will be fly-in fly-out, potentially starting February, but the pair are adamant it’s a way to provide consistent service to the region.
“Gone are the days when you finish your training and go and work at one hospital and you work at that place for the rest of your life,” Dr Bi said.
“These days, specialists will work at multiple hospital sites in addition to their consulting rooms and they travel in between sites.
“What we are doing is trying to make one of those sites Tamworth.”
Dr Bi has a long wish-list of specialists he wants to bring to town and has already locked in a neurologist starting October, and a gastroenterologist in November.
Despite historical difficulty attracting health workers to town, he said the desire was there.
“We’re here to prove it is a doable thing and it doesn’t have to be a barrier to regional healthcare,” he said.
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