Penola welcomes two new GPs

PENOLA'S two general practitioners were welcomed to the town with a small gathering at Pinchunga Hostel on April 14.

The gathering was hosted by the Penola Medical Support Group and attended by Wattle Range mayor Peter Gandolfi and chief executive officer Peter Harriott as well as members of the community in honour of doctors Wasif Baig and Naif Saigol.

Support group chairman Bill Murray addressed the doctors in front of the strong crowd.

"Welcome to both of you," he said. "It's been terrific to have you in our community."

The doctors responded, both saying they felt at home in their new place of employment.

"We have been thrilled to see the community support," said Dr Baig, who lives in Mount Gambier and travels to Penola.

"It's really been a pleasure. We didn't feel alienated at all, not for a single minute."

Penola-based Dr Saigol agreed.

"We've been welcomed like anything," he said. "There has been a huge welcome from the community."

He compared Penola to larger centres.

"The patients have been very patient," Dr Saigol joked. "You don't get to say that in places like Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide."

But the new doctor admitted not everything is smooth at the Penola Medical Clinic.

"Penola is a town with a huge output of chronic disease...which is a challenge at times."

Mr Murray also thanked Country Health SA and its SE regional director Jayne Downs for getting the doctors and providing locums in the interim.

"I congratulate them on their efforts to ensure we had a doctor," he said. "We were never short of a doctor."

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