RWAV is helping to fund ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr Paul Paddle in his efforts to provide outreach services in the Swan Hill area.
“My goal is to provide a solid, consistent, continuum of care for the rural communities I visit. I want to help facilitate safe, local and timely ENT medical and surgical care for the community.”
For the past six months Dr Paddle has been visiting Swan Hill once a month for two days providing outreach ENT services for Aboriginal patients and the general community.
He splits his time between Swan Hill District Hospital conducting ENT procedures and consulting for Mallee District Aboriginal Services.
Dr Paddle receives funding in a unique, joint-model across both the Rural Health and Aboriginal Health VicOutreach Programs from RWAV. Up until now it has been a challenge to attract ENT surgeons to rural areas and Aboriginal communities and RWAV is eager to see this model of outreach services replicated in other areas of Victoria.
“Outreach work can be quite challenging – it’s time away from home and family, your busy practices in the city, they are long days and logistically it’s a lot of work to set up,” said Dr Paddle. “So I suppose it might be a bridge too far so some people.”
But, for Dr Paddle, a doting father of two young girls, the work comes with the territory.
“Outreach work is part of the job, you don’t do it for the fame or the money,” said Dr Paddle. “It is part of what I do as an ENT surgeon.”
In addition to the outreach work Dr Paddle, an avid researcher and keen teacher, also works at the Alfred, Monash, and Epworth Hospitals in Melbourne consulting and conducting surgeries.
Dr Paddle isn’t new to the rural scene, he has taken part in rural rotations in Warrnambool, Shepparton, Geelong and Gippsland and has worked further afield doing clinical and medical education work in Uganda.
Swan Hill was where he completed his first year residency rotation. “I loved it and thought if I ever have a chance to come back here I will,” he said.
“So, it was serendipitous when RWAV came into the picture. They [Swan Hill Hospital] suggested there was the possibility of funding through RWAV, and, the rest is history.”
Looking forward, Dr Paddle is excited to build a long-term presence and relationships in the Swan Hill region.