Dr Murray Verso
Dr Murray Verso has been a partner at the Williamstown clinic since 1977. In addition to his duties at the clinic, Verso was a visiting medical officer to the Williamstown Hospital from 1978 until the position was phased out in 2007, and an area coordinator of the RACGP Family Medicine Program from 1981–1988. For the last 15 years, Verso has been a medical officer of health for the Hobson's Bay City Council; before that, he held the same position for the City of Williamstown for 7 years.
Verso has been extensively involved with the Rotary Club of Williamstown, twice serving as president of the club; in 1989, he was a Paul Harris Fellow. He also worked for many years with Trinity Grammar School, serving as president of the school council from 1995–2004.
The end of Verso's tenure at the hospital speaks of the problems facing the long standing relationship between general practitioners and hospitals.
When Verso was appointed to the hospital in 1978, there were 18 visiting medical officers; when the GP appointments, including his own, were terminated by the Western Health Network in 2007, there were only four GPs on the staff. During his tenure, Verso enjoyed excellent working relationships at the hospital with the physicians, surgeons, specialists, nursing staff and other GPs. He was heavily involved with training and education: from 1980–2002, he organized a weekly education program for doctors and nurses which featured a range of experts; the clinic also accepted and trained junior medical officers for 3 month terms on rotation from the hospital from 1980–1989. Verso was chairman of the hospital's visiting medical staff group from 1989–1992.
Until 1997, when the new Western Health Network took over management of the Hospital and placed all medical staff on contracts, the GPs at the hospital worked under a fee for service arrangement. In the final 10 years at the hospital, Verso witnessed, with much sadness, the decline in the ‘cradle to grave' care provided to the community by the hospital, as its services were withdrawn one by one. In the end, the GP's only role was in caring for mostly bed ridden elderly patients.
After 30 years of service at the hospital – which involved being on call every Friday night, visiting the hospital 6 days a week, serving on numerous hospital committees, lobbying politicians and the local newspapers for better services, assisting with fund raising and, most importantly, caring for his general practice patients in hospital when required – Verso's departure, along with that of his GP colleagues, was a bitter pill to swallow. The situation was made worse by having to negotiate a termination package with the Network which did not include previously agreed entitlements. Sadly, there was no acknowledgement from the Network of the GPs' services: no farewell function, no farewell gift, not even a letter of thanks.
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