Here to help

The appointment of three new salaried medical officers has been welcome help this year as the Whyalla hospital continues to make improvements and developments.

The appointments help fulfil a commitment from Country Health SA and the Minister for health and ageing to provide additional support at the hospital.

Doctor Aftab Ahmad Cheema and Doctor Jalal Qamar started at the hospital in February while Doctor Sheraz Jamil started at the hospital just this week.

Country Health SA director of medical services Doctor Susan Merrett said the doctors will help to improve services to patients in the Whyalla community.

"Dr Cheema, Dr Jamil and Dr Qamar will support the work of the GPs across surgery, anaesthetics and medicine and provide medical support for the specialist physician service," she said.

"As is often the case across rural parts of Australia, it has taken time to recruit to these positions so it is great to have the three doctors on board.

"The appointment of salaried medical officers is a huge step towards transforming Whyalla hospital into one of the four country general hospitals."

With works continuing on the multi-million dollar hospital redevelopment, Dr Merrett said the hospital is shaping up to be an important hub of activity for medical professionals.

"As more salaried medical officers are employed, Whyalla will become a major centre for the training of rural doctors in the future," Dr Merrett said.

Dr Cheema and Dr Qamar have both worked in Australia for the past 12 to 18 months with Dr Cheema graduating in 2008 and Dr Qamar in 2009, both in Pakistan.

Having previously worked at Modbury, the Royal Adelaide and Lyell McEwin hospitals, Dr Qamar said he was enjoying working at the Whyalla hospital.

"I wanted to experience working at a country hospital and the people here are very friendly," he said.

"It is great to be able to work across the different areas of the hospital and support a variety of patients."

Coming to Whyalla after working at the Flinders Medical Centre, Dr Cheema said one of the main attractions for him was the fact the hospital was going to be one of the main country general hospitals.

"It is a great opportunity to be able to work in what will be one of the big country hospitals," Dr Cheema said.

"Since starting in February I've worked in the High Dependency Unit and in Anaesthetics and the increased exposure to the consultants means you can gain more experience."

Dr Jamil has started at Whyalla hospital after graduating and working in Pakistan and said all the staff had been very helpful and welcoming at the hospital so far.

"I look forward to working at the hospital and making a contribution to the local community," he said.

"Working in a country hospital, especially one going through a transformation into a country general hospital, provides a great opportunity to learn from all the senior doctors, GPs and nurses, and also to work and gain experience across a wide range of departments in the hospital."

Country Health SA aims to have four salaried medical officers working in Whyalla and work is continuing to recruit to the final position.

The appointments are also part of a wider move to provide rural-based training to junior doctors.

Two additional trainee GPs will also be rotated to work at Whyalla hospital later this year.

WELCOME: The Whyalla hospital has welcomed three new salaried medical officers (from left) Doctor Jalal Qamar, Doctor Sheraz Jamil and Doctor Aftab Ahmad Cheema.

WELCOME: The Whyalla hospital has welcomed three new salaried medical officers (from left) Doctor Jalal Qamar, Doctor Sheraz Jamil and Doctor Aftab Ahmad Cheema.