Many people living in rural and remote areas face a lack of access to specialised medical services however Boorowa residents will now be able to see a rheumatologist without having to travel to a metro area.
Canberra based rheumatologist, Dr Amy Kelly, will be operating a clinic at Boorowa Hospital every Thursday. Dr Kelly, who lives in the area, said basing herself in Boorowa made sense geographically.
“My aim is to try and improve access to services and also reduce travel time for rheumatology patients,” she said.
Dr Kelly said rheumatologists deal with a number of musculoskeletal diseases.
“Arthritis has been designated a key health priority and 1 in 3 presentations to GPs are for musculoskeletal complaints,” she said.
“There is an eight month wait to see a rheumatologist. I hope to alleviate that by seeing patients in the area.”
She said travelling long distances can take a huge toll on patients.
“It’s really challenging, to sit in a car for that long is a huge deal,” she said.
“They need support network with them. They need to see a rheumatologist otherwise they don’t get access to certain medications.”
After working with Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Dr Kelly says she will be able to see patients from areas such as Cootamundra and Young. She said patients are thrilled to be able to see her in Boorowa.
“They nearly fall off their chair,” she said.
“I have been thrilled with the response when I tell patients that I have already seen in Canberra that they can follow up with me close to home.”
She also said local GPs and the health service have embraced her idea.
“Local staff at the hospital have been very supportive… local GPs have been very supportive as well,” she said.
“I hope this builds up a really strong health service in Boorowa.”
Residents can speak to their GPs who may refer you to Dr Kelly. To make an appointment, contact Canberra Medical Specialists on 6251 2777.