Visiting Specialist Service - Neurologist Services

In 2006, the only resident Neurologist on the Mid North Coast of NSW, indicated his impending retirement from practicing at Coffs Harbour.  In response to this development, the Division searched for a potential Neurologist who would be prepared to provide visiting services under the Commonwealth funded More Specialist Outreach Assistance Program at Coffs Harbour.  At the same time, the Division purchased EEG equipment from the retiring Specialist and recruited the Specialist's support EEG technician to maintain EEG services with the aim of supporting tests conducted by a visiting Specialist.

The Division Executive approached a Central Coast based Neurologist, Dr Jonathan Sturm, with a proposal to provide the visting Neurology Service from an outreach Clinic at Coffs Harbour.  After negotiating the provision of this service, the Division submitted a successful proposal for funding under the MSOAP program to support the service.  Shortly thereafter, Dr Sturm commenced the provision of Neurology Services at Coffs Harbour, supporting two day clinics per month, and supporting EEG testing in the interim.  In addition, the Division supported Dr Sturm from non MSOAP resources, by subsidising a Nerve Conduction technician to accompany Dr Sturm from the Central Coast, and this support improved service productivity significantly, contributing to increased patient access to services.

The Division was indebted to Dr Sturm, who worked tirelessly in providing these valuable services to support GPs and their patients, taking him away from his existing busy practice and family on the Central Coast.  The service was very successful, and typically, demand soon exceeded the availability of service resulting in long clinic days and waiting lists.  In late 2007, Dr Sturm was unable to continue his service and the Division sought a replacement Neurologist to succeed him.  The Division presented Dr Sturm with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contribution to the local community during his last clinic in December, 2007.

Dr Andrew Loiselle, Neurologist based in Melbourne, was approached and agreed to providing a visiting Service to support the Coffs Harbour MSOAP Neurology Clinic.  Dr Loiselle agreed to provide early visiting services as a transition to Dr Sturm's practice, as a strategy to alleviate strong demand and waiting lists.  Dr Loiselle increased the number of clinic days per month to three and this has improved patient access to this service.  The Division continues to support a visiting technician to assist Dr Loiselle.