PDH Surgeons Appeal To The Local Community

Mr Sanjaya Karunaratne
Monday, 16 July 2018
Portland District Health’s new general surgeons are appealing to the local community to support the hospital’s surgical services.

General surgeons Mr Anamitra Sarkar and Mr Sanjaya Karunaratne have started a rotational visiting service, bringing extensive experience and expertise to Portland.

Mr Karunaratne is joining from Melbourne and started last week. Mr Sarkar is joining from Sale and starts this week. They are sharing a week-on/week-off roster but the surgeons and PDH hope to eventually provide full 24/7 surgical cover for Portland.

Speaking on behalf of his surgical colleagues, Dr Karunaratne said they hoped to change the referral pattern of local GPs so more surgery is performed locally.

Mr Karunaratne is meeting with local GP practices and is encouraging them to support their local hospital.

At the moment some clinics are sending patients to other places. We want to change that tide, he said.

Mr Karunaratne said they can’t ask colleagues to join the visiting service to Portland unless enough work is generated.

If we can do that, we can add two colleagues to a rotation so we can have 24-7 surgical cover in Portland. That is the ultimate goal.

If there was enough demand we could cover a full-time service but at the moment the demand isn't there. If we can turn that tide it's good for the hospital and the community and for the people who have their procedures done in the local area.

When the case numbers increase, the viability of the hospital improves and the community can have 24-7 surgical cover. That would give everyone peace of mind but there has to be a business case to justify it, he added.

Mr Karunaratne said he was impressed with the facilities and staff at PDH and there were no reasons for GPs to direct patients out of town for surgery that could be easily and safely done close to home.

Both surgeons are GESA Certified for endoscopy procedures.We are old-style general surgeons, Mr Karunaratne said. We're jacks of all trades and can do everything from skin lesions, hand surgery, gall bladders, hernias, vasectomies, and many more.

At this stage, Mr Karunaratne will be at PDH for three days each fortnight and Mr Sakar for four days on the alternate week.

Previous Portland-based surgeon Mr Turab Pishori finished at the end of May.

PDH CEO Chris Giles backed the surgeons’ campaign and said the health service and the community would benefit if more people had procedures done locally.

Ms Giles said it was OK for local people to ask their GP to refer them to PDH.

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