Having started last Tuesday, Dr Ellis will be working two days a week at the Bombala Doctors Surgery, while Amanda Howard will work another two, and of course Dr Colin Pate will continue full time.
As time goes on and her hospital visiting rights clear, Dr Ellis is also keen to work on-call for the Bombala Hospital when she is in town, even considering offering some relief to Dr Pate on occasional weekends.
This of course places the area in a much more positive position when it comes to health services, and the community has been very excited to welcome Dr Ellis during her first couple of weeks.
“I have had an incredible reception from Dr Pate and the hospital staff, and my husband and I were even presented with a beautiful locally produced leg of lamb by the Mayor!” Dr Ellis said.
“Everyone has been extremely welcoming, and the area itself is just beautiful.”
Our new doctor comes with a very impressive and interesting story, starting with a farming background that has always endeared her to working in the country.
“I grew up in a rural setting, and it’s really nice to be back in country Australia,” she said.
“Before I went to live overseas I did some outback work in Queensland and northern NSW, and I was keen to get back into rural work once I returned to Australia.”
Dr Ellis studied at the University of Sydney, completed her internship and training at Newcastle, and then moved onto Northern Canada where she worked on the health of indigenous people, even enjoying a little flying doctor experience.
She later took a break to pursue other studies in Cuba, where she met her husband and lived for a great deal of time, before a short three month stint in New Zealand working with a Maori health provider.
“We only very recently relocated to Queanbeyan, which allows me to work in the ED at Calvary Hospital as well as getting back out to work in the country, while my husband studies English at the Canberra Institute of Technology,” Dr Ellis said.
So with most of rural NSW clamouring for more doctors, why did Dr Ellis choose Bombala?
“I was actually considering Braidwood as well,” she admits, “but I met up with Dr Howard and had a chat and she said that it was definitely worth the drive to Bombala, and that you couldn’t work with a more dedicated doctor than Dr Pate.”
Dr Ellis had also already heard from the Rural Doctors’ Network that Bombala, like so many other places, was in great need of another GP, so she decided to take Dr Howard’s advice and face the longer trip.
“And so far it seems to be working out beautifully,” she says.
“It’s fantastic to work with a great doctor like Colin, and rural work is very nice. You really get to know the community, and as you build a relationship with your patients, it just gets easier.
“Even the two hour drive is quite scenic,” she laughs, “I had snow on my first day!”
And of course Dr Ellis is most impressed with our wonderful new hospital, particularly all of its natural light, and was very pleased with the accommodation the hospital provides medical staff.
“I finished up on my first day, only to meet with one of the hospital staff who had kindly turned my electric blanket on for me,” she said. “Where else would that happen!”