In less than that time, our newly-opened Women’s Health Clinic, where Drs Michael Koutsoukis and Damayanthi Rathnayaka are based, received 27 new referrals.
It’s going to be an incredibly busy and exciting year on the baby-front for South West Healthcare and Chief Executive Officer John Krygger is delighted that everything’s in place to meet this growing demand.
‘South West Healthcare is entering a new era in readiness for the role of sole provider of obstetric services in Warrnambool and with the appointment of Dr Koutsoukis as our new Director of Obstetrics we can provide a first class service for local women,’ he says.
‘Dr Koutsoukis is a very experienced specialist who was previously Director of Obstetrics at a large regional hospital in New South Wales and has also previously worked at Geelong’s Barwon Health. Dr Rathnayaka received her specialist qualifications whilst working in Queensland and it is particularly pleasing to have a female specialist to this discipline, here onsite.
‘South West Healthcare now boasts a high level of clinical firepower in this vital specialty which is growing rapidly. We not only have first class facilities but outstanding specialists to deliver the service.’
Following the official opening by Premier Ted Baillieu of SWH’s new $115M Warrnambool Base Hospital last September, the health service converted the top-floor central block to a dedicated Women’s Health Clinic to provide, for the first time in its 158-year history, both outpatient ante natal and gynaecology appointments for public patients.
At the same time it went in search of its first-ever salaried obstetricians/gynaecologists and, in the midst of a medical specialist drought that much of the rest of regional Australia is suffering, successfully secured the services of Drs Koutsoukis and Rathnayaka – specialists with a wealth of experience, gained nationally and internationally.
Both will work closely with off-site obstetricians/gynaecologists Drs Liz Uren and Chris Beaton who, for many years now, have done a remarkable job in providing obstetric services to SWH patients. Between the four of them, based on last year’s birth figures, they’ll help deliver some 780 babies this year. That’s a 21 per cent increase on last year.
The foresight of SWH’s Board of Directors and Executive Team ensures this boom will be a dream run. The new Base Hospital’s Midwifery Unit is capable of helping deliver 1,000 babies a year.
And that, says the new Director of Obstetrics, will be welcomed with open arms as a great opportunity. He wants to see local women getting more of what capital-city women take for granted. Already, in the fortnight Dr Koutsoukis has been at the helm, the Women’s Health Clinic has held SWH’s very first gynaecology clinic and on Monday it’s YAP’s turn to break new ground. This Young Adolescent Pregnancy initiative will cater for the needs of the under-20s.
Dr Koutsoukis is also keen to work with mental health and addiction specialists to help support pregnant women experiencing mental health and/or alcohol and drugs issues.