Second endocrinologist takes full-time job at LGH

Michael Ferguson.
Michael Ferguson.

After a “decade-long drought”, the Launceston General Hospital has recruited a second full-time endocrinologist.

Dr Fong Wong joined the LGH in January, within weeks of Dr Agata Piotrowicz becoming the first endocrinologist recruited to Northern Tasmania in more than 10 years.

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It comes about a year after training accreditation at the hospital was downgraded, following a visit from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians last December.

The downgrade was understood to have been due to insufficient staffing in some training disciplines, particularly endocrinology.

The last full-time endocrinologist left the hospital in 2004 and the Tasmanian Health Service was trying to recruit two specialists in that field for the past 12 months.

“We are very pleased to have both Drs Wong and Piotrowicz at the LGH joining our existing visiting endocrinologists,” LGH director of medicine Dr Alasdair MacDonald said.

“Our two new specialists will enhance endocrine and diabetes services in the North of the state.”

Dr Wong is a board-certified endocrinologist in the US, and board-certified in internal medicine. He completed a fellowship program in endocrinology at The George Washington University in 1992 and operated his own private clinical practice in central Florida for 20 years. He reportedly has a strong clinical interest in all areas of diabetes and thyroid disorders.

Dr Piotrowicz was working as a private endocrinologist at Confident Health Care and Yerin Aboriginal Health Service in NSW before moving to the LGH.

She received her fellowship in endocrinology in September 2013 and completed her MB, BCH in 1999 in South Africa.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the “decade-long drought in this difficult-to-recruit specialty has truly been broken and patients will benefit”.

“These appointments represent a significant boost to health services at the LGH, providing a range of vital health services that relate to the management of all hormonal disorders including diabetes and glandular diseases.”

Dr Piotrowicz and Dr Wong will also see referred patients from the North-West. 

The THS already employs two part-time endocrinologists at the LGH, who make up 0.5 full-time equivalent positions between them. 

The North West Regional Hospital lost two endocrinologists in 2015.

They made up one full-time equivalent endocrinologist, and have not been replaced.

Endocrinology encompasses care for hormonal conditions and complicated diabetes.