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Back in town .. Dr Adele Pheasant is now sharing her working hours between the Oamaru Hospital and Oamaru Doctors. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

The new doctor in Oamaru is a familiar face to some townsfolk.

Adele Pheasant spent the last two years of her secondary schooling at Waitaki Girls’ High School. She then studied medicine in Dunedin and Christchurch and has now completed her training in rural hospitals.

Since January, she has been dividing her time between roles as a general doctor at the Oamaru Hospital and as a GP at the Oamaru Doctors practice in Coquet St.

Dr Pheasant said she had been stationed in “most of the bottom half of the South Island” in recent years – Timaru, Christchurch, Te Anau, Wanaka, Dunstan, Invercargill, and Westport.

Each population has its own type of health issues. Oamaru’s are connected to the relatively high proportion of older residents, she said.

In her hospital work, she enjoys the “excitement” of having an emergency department at the Oamaru Hospital – something Dunstan did not have.

She also likes the fact that being a doctor in a small town allows her to experience “a bit of everything”.

Dr Pheasant and her husband, James McKirdy, are keen “climbers, trampers, and skiers” who appreciate how close they are to recreational opportunities since moving to this district.

Mr McKirdy, a geologist at Macraes, is the son of well-known Palmerston doctor Don McKirdy. Dr Pheasant said her father-in-law had been working alongside her as a locum in Oamaru.