BATHURST Base now has its first full-time haematologist, with Dr Riton Das joining the staff this week.
Dr Das has spent the past three years at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, but said Bathurst’s proximity to Sydney drew him to the Central West.
He said he found working in regional areas more rewarding and he plans to be in Bathurst for the long term.
Dr Das’ wife, who has her own practice, and their 10-year-old son will remain living in the Liverpool area but Dr Das said Bathurst was geographically close enough for him to travel home.
He completed his undergraduate degree in Bangladesh and post graduate training in Australia, and was drawn to haematology because he finds it a rewarding area to specialise in.
He said the best part of his job was seeing people recover from their illness.
“In haematology, you’re largely dealing with cancer patients who can be cured,” he said, adding he takes great happiness treating patients and seeing them overcome their illness.
“Compared to other cancers, a lot of blood cancers can be cured so in that sense it’s very rewarding to see someone come in with a sick face and after a while they leave with a smile, because they’ve beaten the disease.”
Bathurst Base Hospital chief executive officer Cathy Marshall welcomed Dr Das’ appointment, saying it was the first time Bathurst Base has had the services of a full-time haematologist.
“Up until now we’ve had two visiting specialists from Orange travelleling here,” she said.
Ms Marshall said Dr Das was a welcome addition to the six general physicians, four surgeons, four pediatricians and other intensive care unit and emergency department specialists working at the hospital.
She said now that Dr Das had taken up his position, the visiting haematologists would still work in Bathurst but in a reduced capacity.
She also said the full-time Bathurst-based position would be beneficial for patients requiring treatment who would likely encounter less travel.
Bathurst Base Hospital medical services director Dr Geoffrey Westwood also welcomed the appointment, saying Dr Das would add to the existing specialist services offered in Bathurst.
“It’s always been a visiting service, but we’re now looking to build it up further.”
Dr Westwood said it also meant the specialist was no longer on-call over the phone, but directly accessible,
Bathurst MP Paul Toole, who met Dr Das while at the hospital announcing an expansion of palliative care in the city, said his appointment was evidence of a hospital continuing to expand. “Bathurst Base is bigger and growing,” he said.
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