Doctors sign on at base hospital


FOR the first time in perhaps 15 years, the Grafton Base Hospital now has a full complement of resident medical officers.

The hospital's emergency department has welcomed Dr Mathew Pathickal as its fifth medical officer, and hospital executive officer John Wickham could not be happier.

Dr Pathickal came to Grafton to rejoin his wife, Dr Mary Varughese, a new paediatrician in the city.

It has been a long journey for Dr Pathickal to reach Grafton.

After doing his training in India, he went to Nigeria, then to Ireland, where he became a surgeon. For the past eight years he has been working in Brunei with his wife.

Another attraction in coming to Australia was that their son is studying medicine in Melbourne.

After arriving in the city, Dr Pathickal hardly had time to unpack his bags before starting work. But already he is noticing some differences.

"In Nigeria there were more infections than anything else, but there are differences between the medical problems everywhere," he said.

Mr Wickham said the hospital would have less reliance on locums. "Local doctors will still do some shifts, but having a full complement relieves pressure on the visiting medical officers and also on local services," he said.

Three Australian, one Zimbabwean and one Indian doctor are now employed at the hospital.

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