Popular Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) doctor Anand Patel’s passion for working with the community took a major step forward recently when he became registered as a specialist General Practitioner.

The Indian-trained medico, who moved to Mildura in 2016 and first worked at the Mildura Base Hospital and OneHealth Boronga Clinic, has been the Mildura MDAS clinic’s doctor for almost three years and is the latest MDAS GP to be registered as a fellow with the Royal Australian College of GP’s.

“My wife is a pharmacist. She got a job in Mildura, and I was in Adelaide, driving over every weekend. I got to love the town and we decided I would move here in 2016. We now have our first child, so I think I’m nearly a local,” Dr Patel said.

While he is more-than-happy with the achievement, Dr Patel’s mind is set on the job at hand at MDAS and the opportunity they have to bring more accredited doctors into the clinic.

“It is a relief that the years of training and exams are all over and that I was successful, but now I want to use that qualification to build what we are doing here,” Dr Patel said.

“It has opened up knowledge in my own practice, but also now, as a fellow, we can perhaps look at the possibility of supervising someone in an accredited position here as well.”

Dr Patel has thoroughly enjoyed his time working at MDAS in Mildura, and has a mission of helping to consistently provide indigenous Australians with positive health outcomes.

“My vision for this community and this clinic is to improve chronic disease outcomes – to help close the gap,” he said.

“”It bothers me that there is a significant gap between indigenous and non-indigenous health outcomes in the Mallee, the same as there are elsewhere in Australia. To me, that’s something I personally want to tackle in my own community.”

In addition to this, Dr Patel strives to build trust with his patients and build a strong relationship with them, which he believes in turn creates an opportunity for better health outcomes.

This is something he has enjoyed doing during his time in Mildura thus far.

“The starting point for that is trust, where people see the same doctor every time, and there’s a genuine opportunity to provide tailored care.”

“My goal has always been to build doctor-patient rapport because that’s when you can be most effective. Now that I’ve been here a while, I’ve got to know the community and I’ve built a lot of good relationships, the additional qualifications mean I have worked towards extra learning and skills to be more effective.”

All-in-all, Dr Patel is happy with where MDAS is at the moment and maintains the important priority of building the organisation’s strength.

“We have a great team here, of GPs, Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners and visiting specialists – and we’re working towards being much more proactive rather than reactive in our health care,” he said.

MDAS Director of Health Services, Sam Brennan, said the organisation was proud of Dr Patel’s important achievement.

“It’s years of work, countless hours of study and a lot of commitment to a goal that Anand set for himself a long time ago. We’re very proud that he has been able to reach that milestone at MDAS.”