Locum fund­ing ‘ won­der­ful news’

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

Con­tin­ued from Health cover be­tween 800 and 1000 trans­fers of preg­nant women had been avoided in this way. ‘‘ One re­cent locum saved in just two weeks an amount equal to the en­tire cost of run­ning the scheme,’’ he said.

Pi­eter Mourik, a re­tired Al­bury ob­ste­tri­cian, was the first doc­tor to pro­vide locum re­lief un­der the SOLS scheme, and said the ex­ten­sion was ‘‘ won­der­ful news’’.

He trav­elled to the West Aus­tralian min­ing town of Kal­go­or­lie to pro­vide the first SOLS locum in Novem­ber last year. Since then he has done two more locum stints un­der the scheme, in Sale, Vic­to­ria, and Wan­garatta.

Mourik said the Gov­ern­ment ‘‘ has to be con­grat­u­lated’’ and said the scheme would prob­a­bly keep him in the work­force for an­other five years.

‘‘ It’s an ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial ser­vice, and it will keep the poor bug­gers [in rural ar­eas] go­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘ The doc­tor in Kal­go­or­lie is 60, and he’s on-call 24 hours a day — he des­per­ately needs help. This es­sen­tial for rural prac­tice.

‘‘ In a town with a cou­ple of ob­ste­tri­cians, if one goes away for two or three weeks, the other is on-call 24 hours a day. This is un­safe — no-one should be ex­pected to work those hours. It’s un­vi­able.’’

Other towns that have al­ready ben­e­fited from a SOLS-funded locum in­clude Wagga Wagga, War­rnam­bool, Goul­burn, Nowra, Derby, Port Au­gusta, Port Pirie and Gladstone.

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Pi­o­neer: Pi­eter Mourik, the first locum pro­vided un­der the scheme, went to Kal­go­or­lie. He has done two place­ments since, in rural Vic­to­ria

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