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    TACKLING SHORTFALLS: Chief medical officer Andre Nel has outlined his priorities for Wimmera Health Care Group. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Emergency focus for new hospital chief Dr Andre Nel

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A simple and primary focus of Wimmera Health Care Group’s new chief medical officer will be to improve the region’s health services.

Dr Andre Nel, who has spent the past two weeks settling into his new position, said the group’s emergency department in Horsham in particular, where there was a shortage of medical staff, was a priority.

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Dr Nel is originally from Johannesburg in South Africa and has been in Australia for little more than a decade.

He said he had worked in several relatively small health services across Australia and New Zealand and in Melbourne and had been delighted in what he had so far experienced in Horsham.

“Everything is quite new,” he said.

“My interest is the challenge of trying to provide services that in a small community can be easier in making an impact. I also have two daughters in Melbourne so I wanted to be closer to them – that was also a big attraction.

“My main focus is to improve services for Horsham district with a particular focus on our emergency department, which is quite short of medical staff. 

“We’re advertising for an emergency services director and clinical director and will look at orthopaedic services, which are almost non-existent.”

Dr Nel said he was impressed with his initial impressions of Horsham and the Wimmera.

“I had no idea the Wimmera River was so attractive – it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m impressed with the whole region, it is a very nice part of the world,” he said.

Dr Nel, who replaces former acting medical services director Robert Pegram, has signed on in his position for at least three years.

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