2 September 2022

After working around the globe, Grampians Health Horsham’s newest orthopaedic surgeon has committed to making a difference to the lives of Ballarat and Horsham patients.

Growing up in Malaysia, a young Ferraby Ling studied hard to fulfill his dream of being a doctor. He completed his medical degree in Dublin, Ireland, then worked in Singapore before moving to Australia in 2008.

While practicing in Burnie, Tasmania, Dr Ling began his orthopaedic training and completed it in Victoria. He then worked at Ballarat Base Hospital and St John of God Hospital as an orthopaedic consultant from the start of 2020 until June last year.

Dr Ling furthered his training by moving to Calgary, Canada for a year to specialise in shoulder and elbow surgery. He has now returned to Ballarat where he has settled his young family.

Dr Ling said he was enjoying his new role and liked the idea of working in two different locations.

“My wife is a GP in Ballarat and our children will attend school there so we are committed to the region,” Dr Ling said.

“I know of several surgeons who work in Ballarat and also work in another town like Stawell, Hamilton or Ararat each fortnight and they really enjoy it,” he said.

“I’ve always had an interest to work outside Ballarat a little bit and it just makes sense that if Ballarat is home, you tie in all the services instead of having independent practices here and there.

“I think it would be great to have everything under the same umbrella because from Horsham, if the patient has any issues they go to Ballarat before they go to Melbourne. So it’s much easier to facilitate that care if I work at Ballarat too.”

Dr Ling will work at Ballarat Base Hospital, St John of God, Day Procedure and work two days a fortnight in Horsham. As the sole orthopaedic surgeon, he will provide a more generalist service, including treatment of hips knees as well as his sub-specialty interest of shoulders and elbows.

“Grampians Health is upgrading some of the theatre equipment to help me achieve that,” he said. “Who knows, other surgeons might follow suit and join me here.

“There is certainly room for such an expansion and it would nice to be part of that.”

Dr Ling said that when he took up the role it was as a long-term commitment.

“Sometimes surgeons come along and then six months later they leave and there’s a trail of ‘hodge-podge’ changes and it’s just a waste of resource.

“It’s not a stepping stone for me. Horsham is a beautiful town and it’s a nice drive here.”

Chief medical officer at Grampians Health’s Horsham campus Dr Andre Nel said he was pleased local orthopaedic services were recommencing in Horsham, filling the gap left by the retirement of Mr Patrikios.

Grampians Health Chief Operating Officer Hospitals Ben Kelly said the appointment of Dr Ling to Horsham was the first major opportunity to demonstrate Grampians Health’s commitment to both maintaining and increasing important services to Horsham and other Grampians Health campuses.

“While it’s the first step in many more, it’s a good step and we look forward to Dr Ling providing a level of service to meet the needs of the community, whether that be surgical services or outpatient services,” Mr Kelly said.

“And where there is a need to have a higher level of intervention, those patients can be seamlessly transferred to Ballarat to continue their care and ideally under the same orthopaedic surgeon - so it’s a real value-add for the community.”

Dr Ling has a few surprises up the sleeve of his surgical scrubs. Besides baking bread for his family and being a fitness fanatic, he also enjoys playing guitar and has recently discovered the ukulele.

“I’ve definitely caught the ukulele bug but I have yet to master it.”

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