Doctor in demand

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Doctor Warrick Pill, Senior Obstretrician and OBGYN at the West Gippsland Regional Hospital, has an extensive medical background.

His training includes a degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Sydney, a graduate degree in Medicine from the University of Melbourne, as well as countless residency programs.

His experience has put him in great demand, with women coming to Warragul from across the state for consultations with him.

“In terms of gynaecology, I have had people come from Lake’s Entrance”, Dr Pill said.

“I certainly see a lot of people from Pakenham, despite Casey and Dandenong [hospitals being] relatively close. People come from as far east as Lakes Entrance, as far South as Leongatha to north of Neerim.”

“As for obstetrics, certainly Pakenham to Tralagon and further north, Nerrim down to Leongatha. An hour’s drive in every direction, people will come.”

Dr Pill has practised medicine for eight years but only began working at West Gippsland Hospital at the beginning of this year.

“The main medical conditions I see are bleeding disorders, disorders of women’s periods, pelvic pain or abnormal pap smears [through referrals from] GP’s.”

Dr Pill is grateful for his busy schedule and believes Warragul has developed a good reputation for women’s healthcare, causing a wide patient catchment area.

“I think it speaks a lot for Warragul’s reputation,” he said.

“The hospital has a very good reputation in the Gippsland area. I think people are drawn to here because of the reputation and quality of care.”

The hospital’s reputation as an excellent state centre does however distract from a shortage of women’s healthcare services in less populated areas of Gippsland.

“Unfortunately, in some areas like Neerim, there is not an appropriate institution women can attend,” Dr Pill said.

“Warragul is a general hospital but we do things here that would normally be sub-specialist things in a metropolitan institution.¬†We do see more complicated health issues than a general metropolitian hospital would because they would be referred to sub-speciality institutions like Monash, the Mercy of the Women’s.

“These health issues can sometimes be cancers, advanced cancers.¬†Sometimes symptoms can be present for a long time before women seek care. Women living in rural areas generally tolerate pain and discomfort for longer than perhaps Metropolitan people would.”

But it is not all bad news.

Dr Pill said that in regional hospitals, the healthcare environment was friendly and considerably more user friendly for medicals students than metropolitan hospitals.

According to Dr Pill, medical practitioners in Gippsland are more willing to impart knowledge and be collaborative in their practice with aspiring students.

“The people in Warragul are very friendly and willing to share their experiences and help, in terms of the training of staff”, he said.

“There is far less opposition to having midwifery and medical students involved and there are not a lot of egos inhibiting patient care. I think medical practitioners in metropolitan hospitals can be a lot more protective of their privacy and individuality, whereas people in outer areas are more open and willing to share.”

Dr Pill has also recently noticed a concern trend associated with the education of male doctors in metropolitan hospitals.

He said male medical students completing their residency at hospitals, outside of the country, experienced far greater difficulty pursuing a career in women’s health.

“In metro areas there are more cultural barriers to medical student involvement, in particular, male medical students in women’s health.”

“Patients are less willing to have a male professional involved in their care.

“It’s a barrier to recruiting males into the area of women’s health as their exposure is reduced. Therefore, they have less of an interest and are less inclined to pursue a career in the area of women’s health. It’s a big problem.”

To new patients seeking Dr Pill’s expertise, he offers the following advice.

“For any medical concern, the sooner treatment is sorted the better. In particular maintain [your] pap smears are up to date – one every two years is the current recommendation.

“Maintaining a healthy weight is also very important, through exercise and appropriate eating. If you want to get pregnant, you’re more likely to and your pregnancy will be easier and safer [if you do].

“You are also less likely to develop gynaecological cancers.”

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