New doctor opens in Hawks Nest

Following a meeting on Friday 22 May,  it can be announced to the community that a first class medical centre is set to open on 15 June.

Graeme Hackworthy and Dr Shawn Saremi.
Graeme Hackworthy and Dr Shawn Saremi.

Located behind Myall Pharmacy the long awaited and much needed centre has seen some years of hard work and lobbying to finally come to fruition.

After 10 years the medical centre located at the Myall Pharmacy Hawks Nest is finally getting a new medical service starting in June 2015.

Over the last 2 years Mr Stephen Legge a local man and former practice manager from Tea Gardens, has been proactive in the process of recruiting a doctor to fulfil the demands for medical services in the area.

Stephen has been in consultation with the Hon Bob Baldwin who in turn consulted with the Federal Member for Health and Aging to have changes made to the Great Lakes local government area.

This involved having the status of the local government area changed in order to enable Medicare Provider numbers, making it easier to employ suitably qualified doctors.

Until March 2015 our area was not designated as a ‘district of workforce shortage’ which prevented certain doctors being able to open practices in the area.

The new designation of District of Workforce Shortage based on current local Medicare billing statistics showed a need for further Medicare Subsidised Medical services in the region.

Mr Graeme Hackworthy owner of Myall Pharmacy has also been active in attempting to recruit doctors for the area since the previous doctors left the area and Dr Pearson and Dr Everett retired.

The process is complicated and difficult to retain doctors that work to the standards and expectations of the community.

Eighteen months ago, Stephen met up with Dr Shawn Saremi who was consulting as General Practitioner in Dungog and the two tried without success to get approval for the Hawks Nest Centre due to the previously outlined issues.

During the interim, Stephen and Dr Saremi have successfully established a Medical Centre at Tanilba Bay filling a much needed gap in the area.

Graeme Hackworthy, Stephen Legge and Dr Shawn Saremi.
Graeme Hackworthy, Stephen Legge and Dr Shawn Saremi.

This practice has now been open since September 2014. The practice has 2000 patients on their books and now employs 3 doctors, 3 nurses, 3 admin staff, 5 allied health professionals and also has a pathology blood collection centre.

With building work almost complete at Hawks Nest, the new 190m2 centre will be able to accommodate up to 4 fulltime doctors, practice nurses and various allied health staff and pathology.

Initially starting with Dr Saremi and another doctor in the process of having applications approved by Medicare and the NSW Rural

Doctors Network, the clinic will be able to accommodate the growing demands of the community.

Graeme Hackworthy said, “This is a big win for the local community, it has been ten years since we had doctors in Hawks Nest and the need for them has always been here.”

“This is a major step in improving Health outcomes in the local community, there are only positives coming from this,” Graeme added.

Dr Saremi has worked as a General Practitioner in Australia for the last five years after spending 8 years working in Surgery and Emergency in Sydney and rural hospitals.

He is a qualified Rural General Surgeon and Emergency Medicine Practitioner and has also completed a Masters in Plastic Surgery, along with a host of other clinical qualifications and experience.

“We have worked very hard to bring this practice to Hawks Nest and our goal is to provide highly professional medical services in a friendly relaxed atmosphere,” Dr Saremi said.

“When patients first visit, they will experience health care second to none and a feeling of confidence that we will be here for them now and for a long time in the future,”  the doctor added.

As Stephen Legge said, “It was only red tape that prevented this service being established last year but now we are in a more experienced and aware position to make this a truly professional centre in all regards.”

“I am local and have for a long time seen the need for more doctors in the area, this is even better with Allied Health and pathology on the doorstep of locals,” Stephen added.

For all enquires and bookings for the opening week please call the Tanilba Bay Medical Centre on 4982 3959.

Full public notices will be issued prior to opening with phones soon to be connected.

Myall Coast News welcomes Dr Saremi and says, “Well done Stephen Legge for pushing on with this project, the community welcomes the additional Health Care to our area.”

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