Internationally trained doctor makes his home in Shepparton
Published at: 21 Jun 2019
GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH REHABILITATION PHYSICIAN DR MANJU PERERA HAS REFLECTED ON HIS DECADE IN THE GOULBURN VALLEY AFTER RELOCATING FROM SRI LANKA. AN ENTIRELY NEW AREA OF MEDICINE OPENED UP FOR DR PERERA ONCE HE BEGUN WORK AT GV HEALTH, MOVING INTO THE SPECIALISED FIELD OF REHABILITATION MEDICINE THROUGH A MEDICAL REGISTRAR POST AT THE HOSPITAL.
After relocating to Shepparton a decade ago, Dr Manju Perera has cemented himself as an integral part of Goulburn Valley Health’s rehabilitation team.
The rehabilitation physician said he decided to move to Shepparton from Sri Lanka with his family, seeking a safer environment to raise his family in 2009.
“I was working as a doctor in Sri Lanka for almost 10 years but because of the country’s situation at that time - it was at war - I decided to migrate while my kids were still young,” he said.
Fortunately for the community, Dr Perera decided to take an offer from GV Health through a friend working in Shepparton at the time.
Despite also receiving an offer from a medical organisation in Fraser Island, Queensland, the notion of tropical weather was not enough to pull Dr Perera away from Shepparton.
Completing rotations in various areas of the hospital as a medical registrar, Dr Perera said it was whilst completing a rehabilitation rotation that he discovered the opportunity to move into the specialised area of rehabilitation medicine.
“My consultant at the time told me about the training position that had always been vacant at GV Health,” he said.
In 2012, Dr Perera commenced his advanced training, gaining further experience in metropolitan Melbourne.
He completed his training in 2018 becoming a Fellow of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
He said the specialised area of rehabilitation medicine was something he would not have gone into if he was still living in Sri Lanka.
Currently, Dr Perera runs the orthogeriatric model of care at GV Health.
He explained what that involved.
“It is a special model of care for older patients with orthopaedic conditions that is provided collaboratively by orthopaedic team and rehabilitation team,” he said.
“This concept of care emphasises the importance of an early comprehensive assessment, a team approach to care, rapid definitive treatment, early mobilisation and full and open communication with the patient and family.
“It recognises that traditional orthopaedic care may not be optimal for older people, who often have medical and psychosocial issues that may complicate their presentation, treatment and recovery.”
“I get involved right from the beginning when a patient gets admitted to the orthopaedic ward.”
Dr Perera said he aimed to implement Shepparton’s first spasticity clinic in the months to come, meaning patients would not need to travel to Melbourne for treatment.
He said the clinic would be dedicated to treating patients with rigid joint problems caused by medical conditions including stroke, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and spinal cord injuries and more.
“Currently patients have to go all the way from Shepparton to Melbourne. Waiting lists there can be a concern and it is not fair for the patients,” Dr Perera said.
“When I start this new service here in Shepparton, a lot of the patients who had been travelling will be able to get the same service here.”
Dr Perera has a big place in his heart for the Goulburn Valley.
He said he and his family are very much settled in Shepparton.
“My wife is also a doctor….she joined the GP workforce here in Shepparton and works at the Nixon Street Medical Centre,” he said.
Dr Perera said his two sons attend Goulburn Valley Grammar School with his eldest completing VCE this year.
“We are fortunate to have good schools here,” he said.
“My youngest son said he too wants to complete his schooling here in Shepparton.
“I find Shepparton a lovely place to raise a family. It has easy access to everything we need.
“I love the fact that it’s a small community with friendly people in a multicultural environment.”
Dr Perera was also very complimentary of GV Health and the support he had received from the organisation.
“Since joining GV Health, I continue to enjoy working in this supportive and friendly environment,” he said.
Dr Perera thanked the hospital’s HR department as well as the executive staff.
“As soon as I completed the fellowship, I was offered the current position” he said.
With the rehabilitation registrar post at GV Health becoming vacant again, Dr Perera encouraged other young doctors to follow in his footsteps.
“It’s a good opportunity if someone is interested as we have three rehabilitation medicine physicians now with plenty of support available,” he said.