HEALTH services at the Holbrook District Hospital are under review after losing the services of its visiting medical officer.
Questions about why long-standing general practitioner, Dr Arunachalam Lakshmanan, is no longer working at the hospital were unanswered by Murrumbidgee Local Health District and by the doctor himself.
Dr Lakshmanan, who has worked in Holbrook for 42 years, is still operating his own practice in the town.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District chief executive Susan Weisser said yesterday the service was reviewing medical services at the 26-bed hospital and working to secure locum coverage to minimise disruption.
“The Holbrook emergency department continues to be open 24 hours, seven days a week for medical emergencies,” she said.
Ms Weisser said patient care and safety remained a priority.
Registered nurses trained in emergency care are available and can call on doctors at Albury base hospital.
“Patients needing further care will be transferred to the closest appropriate facility,” she said.
Ms Weisser said there were no acute patients at the hospital at present and all other services would continue as normal.
When The Border Mail phoned Dr Lakshmanan’s surgery, office staff directed it to a lawyer for medical defence organisation Avant in Sydney, but a media spokesman there said it would not comment.
Murrumbidgee district wouldn’t say why services were being reviewed and why Dr Lakshmanan was no longer working for the hospital.
“It is inappropriate for MLHD to make further comment while the review is under way,” Ms Weisser said.
Greater Hume Shire mayor Heather Wilton said it was a concern there was no visiting medical officer.
But there wasn’t a great level of concern in relation to overall hospital services — though the council was focusing on attracting more general practitioners to the shire.
Dr Lakshmanan had given exceptional service to the community, Cr Wilton said.
Dr Lakshmanan, who has an Order of Australia Medal, told The Border Mail said in 2010: “I am nearly 70 and I am in my 39th year of working in Holbrook but I will continue to work while I am physically and mentally able to.
“I love my patients and they love me and I will go on for as long as I can.”