IT was only a few weeks ago the Lyndon Community Withdrawal Unit was considering its options, which may have meant closure, because it could not attract a general practitioner to work with drug and alcohol clients.
But in a change of fortune, the service has not only secured a GP, but one who has a passion for treating people affected by drug and alcohol addictions, as well as pain management, an essential part of the detox process.
Dr Ian Thong worked in his own practice in Bathurst for 10 years before taking up a role at Royal North Shore Hospital were he worked for two years before a sojourn in Canada.
Dr Thong is excited at the prospect of working with people who are often marginalised in society.
“In many ways, the services for and outcomes for people with drug and alcohol addiction is worse than the indigenous community,” he said.
“I am passionate about the job here and the opportunity to work with socially disadvantaged people. Everyone in our community is entitled to equal health care.”
Dr Thong says he will take a holistic approach to treating his patients, which includes depression and other health issues that accompany an addiction.
Dr Thong may be recognised from the SBS documentary Accidental Addiction, which shone a light on people who had become addicted to prescription drugs.
“That is something I will be looking at with my patients here, as some of them are in this situation,” he said.
Lyndon Community deputy chief executive officer Dr Julaine Allan is thrilled Dr Thong has come forward.
“It is a miracle for us really,” she said.