New Clinical Services for Children in Portland

Wednesday, 13 August 2014
New clinical services for children will be available at Portland District Health from the start of September.

Dr Rachna Verma is a senior registrar in paediatrics and will be available to see children referred by their general practitioner or other doctors.

It is the first time for many years that PDH has had a resident doctor working in paediatrics.

The new service also follows the expansion of Portland’s birthing arrangements with the recruitment of obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr David Morris who has joined Drs Ghazala Irshad and Fariha Irshad and experienced midwives in the expanded PDH maternity team.

Dr Verma said she is looking forward to helping put a smile back on the faces of local children.

It makes it all worthwhile when you see a sick child and then a few days later you see them going home with lovely smiles on their faces,she said.

Acting Director of Medical Services Peter Morton said the additional service would be of great benefit to local families.

It's an important service for children that saves them and their families from having to travel to Warrnambool or further to see a doctor,Dr Morton said.

Dr Verma will be working out of the specialist centre from September 1 and will work in conjunction with other agencies involved in the care of children, including schools and Aboriginal health groups. She will see children only by referral.

Her role at PDH also includes work in the hospital emergency department.

Dr Verma arrived in Portland in May with her husband Dr Anil Xavier who is a consultant physician and nephrologist with PDH.

She graduated in her native India and has spent the past 11 years working in paediatrics in the United Kingdom.

Even when I was a medical student I knew I wanted to work in paediatrics, she said.

Dr Verma will become a fellowed paediatric consultant after a further 10 months of local training in Australia.

PDH will now be able to help children with a variety of problems, reducing the need to go out of town for support.

We will be offering a broad range of services for children and to support GPs,Dr Verma said.

Some more complex cases will continue to be referred to Warrnambool or other hospitals.

Dr Verma is excited about the opportunities in Portland and the feeling is mutual.

The community seems excited to have me here,she said. Everyone is very friendly and stop and talk to me when I walk down the street.

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