After recently deciding to close his general practice, Dr Stuart Garrow wanted to continue practising medicine. He came upon RWAV on the Internet and found a locum placement in his mother’s birthplace of Sea Lake, Victoria. He decided to give RWAV locums a go for a couple of months. We caught up with Dr Garrow to learn about his first three-week locum experience.
Can you tell us briefly about any of the highlights of your recent experience at the Sea Lake practice?
The reason this placement caught my eye was because I have family there, my mother was born there. It was fun to go back to Sea Lake. My cousin and uncle still live in the District. Once my name got around, people would come by the office and tell me what they remembered of me and my family years back. I found the house where my mother was born. It was town doctor’s house where he has a small hospital at the back! (see photo). I enjoyed exploring the area for birds at the Mallee Fowl, and I learned a lot about farming and cropping. Sea Lake is named for Lake Tyrell a massive shallow salt lake, which shimmers like mother of pearl and reflects like a mirror.
Was it what you expected?
I had no expectations. I had worked in the Kimberley for 15 years ago and I’m used to working solo. You have to plan things a bit more when you are out in the country, compared to a suburban area because of the distances. When I was in Broome, you’d have to get the patient on a plane as it was 2,000 kilometres to get to a specialist or major hospital.
[Sea Lake] is a little a more remote than most other parts of Victoria, in terms of hours to might take to get to the next town. For example the district hospital is in Swan Hill, which is an hour away and to see a specialist, patients would need to travel to Mildura or Bendigo, which is about two and half hours away.
Would you recommend the locum program to other GPs?
It’s only three weeks in. So far, so good.
RWAV acknowledges the funding received from the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services for locum services.