IAN Scobie, a former Holbrook council president and health services board member, has called for the reinstatement of Holbrook Hospital’s visiting medical officer, Dr Arunachalam Lakshmanan.
Dr Lakshmanan was stood down as the hospital’s visiting medical officer and the Holbrook community left in the dark as to why.
Both Dr Lakshmanan, the town’s doctor of 42 years, and hospital officials said they would not comment due to legal concerns.
A Sydney doctor, Dr Abbas Haghshenas, began work as the locum doctor for the hospital on Monday in a position that was advertised with a pay of $2000 a day.
Dr Haghshenas, who has worked at rural hospitals in the area, will be based in Holbrook and will work weekdays from 10am to 8pm and will be on-call after hours for emergencies.
Murrumbidgee Local District Health chief executive Susan Weisser said the position was “short-term” while a review of medical services at Holbrook Hospital was undertaken.
She would not say how long the review would take and said the emergency department remains open 24 hours a day.
“The medical review is being undertaken to ensure high standards of patient safety and clinical care are maintained at Holbrook Hospital,” Ms Weisser said in a statement, declining to add anything.
Mr Scobie called for Dr Lakshmanan, 73, who is still operating his private practice, to be reinstated.
He said people were “terribly concerned” about the issue.
Mr Scobie has known Dr Lakshmanan for 42 years.
“The whole Holbrook community is bewildered,” he said.
“He’s dearly, dearly loved by the community ... the only resolution would be reinstatement.”
Mr Scobie wouldn’t comment as to why his friend was stood down from his position at the hospital.
Both men are Order of Australia Medal recipients.
Dr Lakshmanan said he was advised by his lawyer not to comment on why he was stood down from the hospital.
But he did say he wished to continue as its visiting medical officer as long as he was “physically and mentally” able to.
Mr Scobie said Holbrook’s high standards of health care played a big part in efforts to attract people to live in the area, and the town was proud of the service.