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    COMMUNITY FOCUS: Melbourne-based podiatric surgeon Dr Omar Baarini started in his new role at Horsham’s Elite Podiatry Centre last week. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Elite surgeon in Horsham


A podiatry centre in Horsham has recruited a travelling foot surgeon who will be the only specialist of his kind working in the region.   

Elite Podiatry Centre has welcomed podiatric surgeon Dr Omar Baarini, who specialises in reconstructive foot surgery, to work with patients on a once-a-month basis to help meet a demand in the community.

Dr Baarini, who started in his position early last week, said his service would help reduce a need for patients to travel to centres such as Ballarat and Melbourne.

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“We’re already extremely busy. Appointments for next month are almost full, which indicates there is a clear need for this service up here,” he said.

“I’ll be coming up one day a month, then we might extend that to two or three days or once every fortnight depending on demand.”

Dr Baarini is qualified to care for bone and soft tissue pathology of the foot and ankle for a range of issues such as structural deformities, tendon and soft tissue problems, and trauma-related injuries.

The Melbourne-based surgeon also consults from Ballarat, helping to meet a need in the regional community.

“There’s a lack of clinicians who are willing to travel up or the ones who are from this region who study end up staying in the city because life’s more convenient,” Dr Baarini said.

“It would be good to be able to provide the surgical service locally, but that all comes back down to directors of the hospital.”

In his time in training in foot and ankle surgery, Dr Baarini has spent extensive periods in the United Kingdom and the United States.

He said he also had an interest in performing charity surgical work in developing countries such as Palestine and Lebanon and been involved in charity surgical missions abroad.

“As part of that work, we help refugees in war-torn areas. I’d like to get back over and do that work again when I can,” he said.

“I’ve always grown up in a family where social justice issues have been important.

“I just think, if you’ve been given a skill set, it’s not all about making money and a living, it’s about helping those who don’t have the opportunity to get access to that treatment.”

Centre co-director Loretta Howe said Dr Baarini’s recruitment meant many Wimmera people could receive specialised treatment from within the region.

“We’ve been able to consult with him on lots of our fracture cases and other complex injuries and problems,” she said.

“He reached out to us last year interested in coming up because he had already been seeing lots of people from this region while working out of Ballarat.”

Mrs Howe said it had been traditionally difficult to recruit clinicians such as Dr Baarini to work in the Wimmera.

“There are no others with this qualification travelling up to the region,” she said.

“I’ve been in Horsham for 16 years now and since I’ve moved here, I’ve always seen a difficulty in attracting health-care professionals to come and work here.”


The entire April 7, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!