The first permanent full-time endocrinologist has been recruited to the Launceston General Hospital in more than a decade.
Dr Agata Piotrowicz will move to Tasmania from New South Wales to commence work on January 8.
It comes about a year after training accreditation at the LGH 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.
Dr Piotrowicz officially accepted the job on Wednesday, and Health Minister Michael Ferguson is expected to announce the news on Thursday. He said appointments for patients were already being booked.
“We have secured an endocrinologist, after probably a decade or more of challenge in recruiting to this key position for the North and North-West,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We now have a confirmed recruitment and that person will start on the first working Monday in January.
“That’s going to be a wonderful addition to the team at LGH and I would go so far as to say it’s a drought breaker for endocrinology and people who have been denied access to that service for many years.”
The last full-time endocrinologist left the hospital in 2004.
“It’s been very tough and I can tell you all of my time in this job we’ve been struggling with this recruitment, and the previous minister, and the previous minister,” Mr Ferguson said.
The Tasmanian Health Service has been attempting to recruit two new endocrinologists for the past 12 months.
Dr Piotrowicz has been working as a private endocrinologist since 2013 at Confident Health Care and Yerin Aboriginal Health Service in NSW.
She received her Fellowship in Endocrinology in September 2013 and completed her MB, BCH in 1999 in South Africa.
“[Dr Piotrowicz] visited Launceston and had a tour in December and after doing so, made the decision to accept the offer and sign on,” Mr Ferguson said.
The THS currently employs two part-time endocrinologists at the LGH, who make up 0.3 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.