ROSY Buchanan’s office is quiet two days into her first week as Warrnambool’s women’s health specialist.
But she doesn’t expect it to stay that way.
The obstetrician gynaecologist is the region’s latest medical specialist to move into a practice at St John of God Hospital.
On Monday she saw just four patients — a far cry from her last office in Mildura where the number averaged between 30 to 40 a day.
“I expect it won’t be that busy here, but it will get a lot busier,” Dr Buchanan assures.
Warrnambool, like many regional cities, has struggled to keep obstetricians who are often needed to handle complicated pregnancies.
“Warrnambool has varied wildly between having too many and now in the current situation where there’s not enough,” Dr Buchanan said.
“My waiting list isn’t too bad but the others who work in private have six-month waiting lists because there’s not enough of us.”
Dr Buchanan’s work will be shared between South West Healthcare for pregnancies and women’s health at the private clinic.
“The vast majority of women have an uncomplicated pregnancy but we’re there for the ones where things don’t go according to plan,” Dr Buchanan said.
“Sometimes it’s very stressful but most of the time it’s a great job because everyone is happy and they’re having a baby.
“That’s one of the reasons I loved it so much because you go from looking after people who are sick to people who are basically well and are delighted with the outcome most of the time.”
On-call hours are a major factor in attracting specialists.
“That’s one of the reasons why country towns in particular struggle to get obstetricians because the on-call is quite arduous. Pregnant women can go into labour at any time,” Dr Buchanan said.
“You may be up all night on an on-call night and still expected to work the following day.”