Community / Business / Featured / 8th December 2022
Coona welcomes Dr Blythe
Coonabarabran’s newest doctor is enjoying meeting people, but laments the challenges of accessing specialist services and avoiding staff burnout. It is almost four months into his stint in Coonabarabran and the town’s newest doctor, Jackson Blythe, has well and truly settled into his role and the community.
It is almost four months into his stint in Coonabarabran and the town’s newest doctor, Jackson Blythe, has well and truly settled into his role and the community.
Working out of the Warrumbungle Medical Centre, the young doctor was born and raised in Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast before heading off to Orange to begin his medical career.
After two and a half years in Orange it was time for him to move on.
He said the Coonabarabran job he applied for was one of only a few at the time, but it was the concept of working with Dr Aniello Iannuzzi that was the driving force.
“Nello is renowned as one of the best supervisors to work under, so it was a bit of a no brainer,” Dr Blythe said.
“So far I’m having a great time. I’m amazed by how welcoming the community is.”
Dr Blythe said he would more than likely remain in Coonabarabran until August of 2024 before moving on to continue his studies.
He did say that eventually he would like to return to a small regional community like Coonabarabran.
“This type of community would be ideal,” he said.
“Getting to know and understand people and their families is something I enjoy.
“It’s a luxury of having that time with patients and being able to follow up with them that you don’t get in bigger places.”
While Dr Blythe spoke positively about his experience, he also noted several challenges he had come to accept that go hand in hand with working regionally.
“It can be very difficult to access different health services and the social complexes are amplified by living in a rural area,” he said.
“For something as simple as a CT scan, in Orange you would just send someone down the hallway and around a corner.
“Here, it is a full day process to send a patient to Dubbo or elsewhere.
“The distances involved for both patients and for doctors is one of the biggest challenges.
“Coonabarabran isn’t as bad off as some other places.
“There are some specialists that come out here once a month and we’re very lucky to have those services.”
Dr Blythe said another issue plaguing the area was staffing.
He said there was massive pressure on nurses that was causing burnout.
“We need lots of nurses and some doctors would be good too,” he said.
“But the pressure on the nursing staff is pretty tough at the moment and we really need more to prevent burnout.”
With his heavy work schedule and his trips back to Orange to visit his fiancée, Dr Blythe has had limited chances to take in the Warrumbungle Shire.
“My current goal is to visit all the little surrounding towns in the area like Binnaway and Baradine,” he explained.
“I want to be able to have an understanding of the towns a patient comes from if they come in from out of Coonabarabran.
“I do a bit of wildlife photography so I’ve been out to the Warrumbungles a bit.”
Dr Blythe is not just good with a stethoscope and a camera however, as the doctor also enjoys writing music and playing the bass guitar and piano.