Welcome back: Red Bend graduate returns as GP registrar

Dr Sai Arshanapalli is the new GP registrar at Forbes Medical Centre

Dr Sai Arshanapalli is the new GP registrar at Forbes Medical Centre

Forbes Medical Centre has welcomed a new GP registrar - and yes, he's quite likely a familiar face to some of us.

Dr Sai Arshanapalli attended Red Bend Catholic College and it's a great pleasure for him to be back in the region where he grew up.

"This feels like home," he said when he met with The Advocate last week.

Dr Sai graduated from Red Bend in 2010 and moved to Newcastle where he studied physiotherapy.

He then headed to Western Australia where he practiced as a physiotherapist and studied medicine in Freemantle.

He completed a couple of years in hospitals before deciding to complete GP specialty training, which he's now begun under Dr Neale Somes.

"It fascinates me that people almost expect you not to come back," he said.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me to come back here.

"People have time to know you, to spend with you, the familiarity in the community is a beautiful culture.

"That's why it wasn't a hard decision for me, as a doctor who's grown up here, to come back here."

While a GP registrar does need to work in two separate practices to complete their training, Dr Sai has committed to at least a year here rather than the typical one term and he'd love to be here long term.

Not only is he glad to be close to home, being a country GP offers Dr Sai the opportunity to practice the sort of medicine that's sparked his desire to enter general practice.

He understands the frustrations of not being able to get a regular GP, and as a practitioner he feels very much the same way.

"Consultation can become superficial ... that's not what this job is about and it's sad that people accept that," he said.

"You don't understand somebody's life when you spend 10 to 15 minutes talking to them - you can try, it's an art, but nobody willingly opens up when they don't know you.

"Here, you have an opportunity to delve a bit deeper - and people deserve that."

"Every second person who comes in says, are you staying?"

Forbes Medical Centre's Dr Somes believes Dr Sai may be the first locally-educated doctor in generations to return to the community.

It's not since the early days of medical practice in Forbes that son has followed father into the field, or locally-born doctors have worked here - and he's very happy to have Dr Sai on board for his GP training.

Forbes Medical Centre has been hosting GP registrars for about 20 years, but Dr Somes says the number willing to come to the country is declining.

In other welcome news for Forbes, Forbes Medical Centre has welcomed Dr Sandun as a partner. He previously completed a term as a GP registrar here in Forbes.