A stoush between medical heavyweights has left the public health system in Warrnambool without a urologist.
Talks between South West Healthcare and urologist Adee-Jonathan Davidson have failed to successfully negotiate terms going forward.
Mr Davidson will continue to practice privately at St John of God Hospital in Warrnambool and publicly in Portland and Hamilton.
He has called on the state government to play a more pro-active role.
Mr Davidson said the decisions of the South West Healthcare executive had far-reaching consequences for the health and well-being of the community.
"I believe increased state government oversight of the culture, governance and decision making at South West Healthcare is necessary to prevent other senior medical officers from withdrawing services from South West Healthcare, and indeed promote the recruitment of new specialists to the region," Mr Davidson said.
South West Healthcare CEO Craig Fraser said it was always challenging to balance remuneration whilst ensuring this did not impact the ability to deliver the other services.
"After a series of discussions between South West Healthcare and Mr Davidson, South West Healthcare was unable to agree on contractual terms with Mr Davidson for his services," Mr Fraser said.
"South West Healthcare is committed to developing sustainable contractual and employment arrangements that support sustainable clinical services for an organisation of our size and means.
"South West Healthcare hopes to be able to strike a balance with any medical professionals in our community who would like to contribute to the public service."
This drew an angry response from Mr Davidson.
"While many factors have contributed to this current situation, remuneration is least of all," Mr Davidson said.
"Although it is not appropriate to discuss private employment matters in a public newspaper, I must strongly refute the South West Healthcare executive's claim that it 'held a series of discussions' with me regarding my continued service at the hospital.
"This is despite the fact I continued to work for almost a year after the expiry of my contract to ensure continuity of service to the community.
"I have been committed to resolving the situation and had also suggested involvement of an independent third party such as the department of health to assist in deliberations.
"However, I never received a response from the executive."
South West Healthcare has begun the process of advertising for a replacement for Mr Davidson.
When he arrived in the city in 2016, Mr Davidson was the first resident urologist in Warrnambool's history.
Mr Davidson paid tribute to those who had worked alongside him since arriving in Warrnambool.
"I have spent the last seven years as the only specialist urologist in Warrnambool, working to expand the service so that patients did not need to travel out of the community for care," Mr Davidson said.
"This could only be accomplished with the generosity and support of the local community.
"I would also like to acknowledge and thank my frontline colleagues at South West Healthcare who I have worked with personally on the wards and in theatre.
"Together we have provided a gold standard urological service to the community."
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