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Dream job in the outback

Thursday, 27th September, 2018

(From left) Sundar Thavapalasundaram and Maria Capoluongo from England are very happy to be working with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill. PICTURE: Mikala Wilbow (From left) Sundar Thavapalasundaram and Maria Capoluongo from England are very happy to be working with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill. PICTURE: Mikala Wilbow

By Myles Burt

Two new doctors for the Broken Hill RFDS have travelled all the way from England to work their dream job. 

General practitioners Sundar Thavapalasundaram and Maria Capoluongo from Surrey, packed up their family and belongings after successfully scoring jobs with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“It’s been a bit of dream to work for the RFDS,” Dr Capoluongo said.

“Then we finally got the opportunity.”

Having moved from the rolling green hills of Surrey to the desert plains of the Far West, both said their friends and family are very excited to hear about their new home.

“It’s great for a beer story,” Dr Thavapalasundaram said.

“We were leaving and people believed we were flying into the middle of nowhere.

“The reality is it’s not.

“It’s a very well-provisioned first world sort of environment, it’s not like you’re flying into the middle of the African bush somewhere.

“They think it’s amazing, they can’t wait to come visit,” Dr Capoluongo said.

“I think you’re going to have massive amounts of tourists.”

Dr Thavapalasundaram said not only have they had to adjust to the climate, which for them currently feels like an English summer, but they’ve been enjoying adjusting to the country and learning more about their clients in the outback.

“Medically, people present later because of issues around access,” he said.

“They’re just tougher in that sense - they will not present because they’ve obviously got other things to do like work the land.

“That resilience, that toughness is a very different type of medicine to what you see in a city environment where people are used to being spoilt.”

Dr Thavapalasundaram also said the job has supplied them with some unique tips and tricks of the bush, such as how to treat a brown snake bite.

“That’s a bit of medicine that you don’t learn in the UK,” he said.

The pair has loved settling into Broken Hill with their family and are thoroughly enjoying their new country lifestyle and roles at the RFDS.

“It’s unique for us because the community is so open and so welcoming I think,” Dr Capoluongo said.

“The RFDS is so welcoming.

“It’s such a great brand to work for; even in the UK it’s an iconic organisation,” Dr Thavapalasundaram said.

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