New GPs to cut Casino wait times
WAITING times to see a doctor in Casino are expected to shrink with three new general practitioners joining the local medical fraternity.
Long-time British GP Sunil Rajan arrived in Casino last month and has already started seeing patients at the Casino Medical Centre.
Final-year GP registrar Dr Izaac Flanagan is also working out of the medical centre, however, he is seeing patients just three days a week at this stage.
Dr Maria Mandattu, who had been working in Kyogle, took over the practice of long-time Casino GP Dr Fred Bank at the start of the year following Dr Bank’s decision to retire after more than 30 years.
The arrival of the three new GPs brings the number of doctors practising in Casino to 12 – 11 in private practice and one at the Aboriginal Medical Service.
However, only eight of the 12 are working full-time and, according to the North Coast Area Health Service, only seven of the 12 have visiting rights to the hospital and participate in the on-call roster.
A spokesperson for the NCAHS said it would be prepared to offer visiting rights to the other doctors, subject to their suitability for being endorsed by the Medical Appointments Committee.
“Having up to 11 doctors on the roster would provide greater coverage and make the roster more sustainable,” the spokesperson said.
Long-time Casino GP Dr Jurriaan Beek is also hopeful the extra doctors will relieve some of the pressure on other GPs in town and reduce the waiting time for people to see a doctor.
In the past, people in Casino have had to wait between three and four weeks to get an appointment to see their GP.
The difficulty in getting a doctor’s appointment has also added to the number of people presenting to Casino Hospital’s emergency department.
It is hoped some patients presenting to the hospital will now be able to obtain appointments with local GPs.
Meanwhile, hopes that the career medical officer position at the Casino Hospital would soon be filled have been dashed after the NCAHS announced that the preferred applicant declined the position.
Interviews for the hospital position were conducted last month.