The Western NSW Local Health District is pleased to announce that an extensive international campaign supported by Weddin Shire Council to recruit a doctor for Grenfell has reaped successful results.
A doctor will start work in the town after his migration documents are finalised by the Australian College of GPs and Department of Immigration.
“This is terrific news and the Grenfell Community should be encouraged to see the hard work of the local Council and the Local Health District pay off to attract doctors to Grenfell,” said Western NSW Local Health Service Director of Operations, Ms Lynne Weir.
Grenfell Multi Purpose Health Service Manager, Ms Pauline Rowston, said the Western NSW LHD is thrilled to welcome Dr Patrick Akhiwu to the role and is confident he will bring a valuable skill base to the Health Service.
“We have been working incessantly to recruit a doctor for Grenfell, so Dr Akhiwu will be welcomed with open arms by Grenfell residents and Health Service staff,” said Ms Rowston.
“Dr Akhiwu is from South Africa and has worked most recently in Baltimore and Botswanna, so his experience and skills are extensive and varied. He interviewed exceptionally well and the Grenfell community can be assured they will have access to first class care.”
Dr Akhiwu was interviewed via teleconference three weeks ago, by a panel comprised of Health Service staff, representatives from Weddin Shire Council and the Local Health Council. His application was sent to the Credentialing Committee and was approved.
“We haven’t yet confirmed a start date for Dr Akhiwu, because his migration and credentialing documents are currently being processed by the Australian College of GPs and Department of Immigration. We don’t anticipate this will take any longer than 6 months and he is keen to start as soon as possible,” said Ms Rowston.
Dr Akhiwu has a completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Diploma of Family Medicine, Diploma of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Masters of Palliative Medcine, Masters of Family Medicine, and Masters of Public Health.
“Dr Akhiwu is highly qualified for this position and we are extremely lucky to have him practicing in Grenfell,” said Ms Rowston.
“He has confirmed plans to set up a GP practice in the Burrangong Street surgery, which is owned by Weddin Shire Council, and is prepared to service the Grenfell MPS as a VMO Monday to Friday, 5-days a week.”
Weddin Shire Mayor, Mr Maurice Simpson, said the Council has been extremely forthcoming to accommodate Dr Akhiwu and his young family.
“We are overjoyed to welcome Dr Akhiwu to Grenfell and we are making swift plans to upgrade the Burrangong Street Surgery ahead of his arrival. This will include purchasing new furniture, medical equipment and a computer system, as well as renovations at a total cost of around $400,000,” said Mr Simpson.
Weddin Shire Council will also purchase a block of land and build a new home for the Akhiwu family.
“We are committed to making Dr Akhiwu feel right at home in Grenfell. He’s expressed a strong desire to live in a regional town and will bring with him his wife and two children, aged 6 and 4 years. We couldn’t be happier.”