Emergency medic first

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012
Lis Gammelin
TERRI RUSSELL/Fairfax NZ
NEW ASSISTANT: Gore Hospital’s new physician assistant Lis Gammelin, who started work at the hospital this week.

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Gore Hospital is the first hospital in the country to take on a United States-trained emergency medic as part of a nationwide trial to fill rural vacancies.

Hospital chief executive Karl Metzler said Lis Gammelin, who started work at the hospital this week, was the only emergency department physician assistant in the country. She has about 10 years experience with a background in trauma and emergency medicine.

A physician assistant is a flexible, adaptable and specialised role that complements the work of doctors and nurses. They work under constant clinical supervision.

This is the second trial that involves bringing physician assistants to New Zealand. Two assistants came to work with the surgical team in South Auckland in 2010. Another four who specialise in primary care are expected to start work in North Island hospitals as part of the demonstration.

Mr Metzler said Gore Health, the operational arm of Gore Hospital, put its hand up about a year ago to join the trial. "At that time, the hospital was short staffed. We always struggle for doctors and medical staff, not only in Gore, but Southland."

Gore Health and the Ministry of Health paid for Mrs Gammelin's airfares and for relocation of essential items. Gore Health also sourced suitable accommodation.

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- The Southland Times

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