There is some relief for patients suffering from ear, nose and throat complaints, with a new registrar starting at Tamworth hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic.
Doctor Isabella Ludbrook is on a one-year rotational as a trainee doctor and says she is already learning a lot.
"I've been able to do everything from clinic to learning how to operate, seeing kids, adults, cancer, small and severe infections, really seeing the whole lot," Dr Ludbrook said.
"So I would definitely encourage other junior doctors to come out to the bush and really learn what there is to be learned because there is so much here."
Dr Ludbrook was at Tamworth hospital on Monday, September 4, to give Boggabri farmer John Duncan the all-clear to return to work after he suffered a debilitating ear infection for months.
"Today he has received the news that his ear looks really good and he is able to get the PICC [Periferally Inserted Central Catheter] line out today to stop the antibiotics," Dr Ludbrook said.
"So he's able to get back to his farm and back to work, which is all he really wants to be doing."
Had the recently-established ENT clinic at Tamworth hospital not been there, Mr Duncan would have had to travel nine times to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, during the four months it took him to fully recover.
"I've done 46 trips to Narrabri [to see the GP] from my farm, it's 60km in and 60km out, and I've been nine trips here [to Tamworth]," Mr Duncan said of his recovery.
"I wouldn't wish an ear infection on anybody because it is the cruellest thing I've ever had in my life," Mr Duncan said of the pain it had caused him.
Dr Hossein Ghazavi established the ENT clinic at Tamworth hospital about 18 months ago, but it has taken about eight months to get it "ready to go", complete with theatre set-up, instruments, and his first registrar Dr Ludbrook.
"It was tough at the beginning, but now it's getting better," Dr Ghazavi said.
"And to be honest, it feels good to be in need and to help people."
With the ENT clinic in Tamworth, and depending on the severity of the patient's disease or infection, wait times vary from less than one month up to a year.
Dr Ghazavi said he has already completed the interviews for next year's trainee at the ENT clinic and the decision-making process will soon begin.
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