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Witness
Bush Doctor
It is tough in the Australian bush but one charismatic doctor finds ways to work.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2008 14:48 GMT

Some emergencies take Dr Matic away for days
Director: Scott Thompson

Life in the Australian bush is tough. Accidents can be common in the stark and arid terrain, whether it be the risk of an unpleasant meeting with any one of numerous venomous creatures, or whether it be a nasty accident involving a tractor.

The region has a severe shortage of doctors. In Walgett, a town of 2,300 people in northwestern New South Wales, residents live in a community with some of the highest rates of alcohol abuse, diabetes, and smoking-related illness in the country.

It is no surprise then to learn that most medical professionals are posted into rural towns like Walgett as part of their contracts, before flocking to the cities.

Doctors are in great demand in rural areas
Local GP, Dr Vlad Matic, is an exception. Dr Matic came out to Walgett 10 years ago through his own choice. And just by doing his job, he has become essential to the functioning of the Walgett community as a whole - and in so many ways, more than just medicine.

Despite the pressures of under-resourced and under-staffed rural medicine - Dr Matic is determined to carry on. As he says: "A town of 2,300 people with shocking health statistics and no doctor...how could I resist?" Dr Matic is determined to make a difference in a place which needs his skills.

Filmmaker Scott Thompson follows the charismatic and inspirational Dr Matic on his rounds to find out what it is like to be a Bush Doctor.

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