Hidden Healthcare: Driven to improve health equity

Thursday, January 14, 2021 palliative carepediatrics
Hidden Healthcare: Driven to improve health equity
Hidden Healthcare takes a look behind the scenes at some of the people powering one of regional Victoria's largest hospitals.

Hossein Kasiri returned to Bendigo Health in August after a five-year hiatus, with more honorifics to his name but the same drive to improve health inequity in regional areas.

“I feel an element of loyalty to Bendigo which gave me numerous opportunities in my years as a junior doctor and has helped me thrive,” he said.

Hossein moved to Bendigo in 2010 after five years working in various hospitals and GP practices in Tehran, Iran.

“Coming to Australia was a little bit about exploring, getting out of my comfort zone and seeing how other healthcare systems worked,” he said.

He began his career as a medical intern at Bendigo Health before advancing into a resident and eventually a registrar.

It was during his stint as a paediatric registrar that Hossein noticed difficulties some families had in accessing tertiary care.

“Some patients were missing appointments and follow ups and had limited health literacy, which meant they were presenting quite unwell,” he said.

Hossein decided to combine his determination to improve health equity with an emerging passion for palliative care, by studying to become a fellow in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, working as a GP in Melbourne and the small Gippsland town of Churchill.

“It was a small community with lots of health problems and was a good opportunity for me to try and improve their access to quality healthcare,” he said.

Once a fellow, he was able to begin training in advanced palliative care medicine, including a one-year placement in the Bendigo Health Specialist Palliative Care & Evaluation Unit, which he completed in August 2020.

Now back at Bendigo Health, working as one of four palliative care physicians, Hossein has been impressed with the service development and provision across the Loddon Mallee region.

“It’s exciting to see how things have evolved over the past few years, we have more clinics, more services, better palliative care at home and we have the capacity to provide care to more people in the region,” he said.

“Palliative care is a human right. All health professionals need to have some level of competency in providing palliative care, and that’s what we’re trying to support them to do.”