Mining company offers $200,000 bonus for doctor

A WA mining company has offered to pay a $200,000 bonus for a doctor who will come to the state and provide radiation therapy to children with cancer.

Northern Star Resources, a gold company operating the Paulsens mine near Paraburdoo, said the bonus would be on top of the WA Health Department wage paid to a new radiation oncologist, The West Australian reported.

The offer comes after the story of three-year old Princess Margaret Hospital cancer patient Archie Caldow, who is forced to go to Sydney for treatment as there are no doctors in WA able to treat him as the state’s only paediatric radiation oncologist goes on a month’s leave, her first holiday in seven years.

While the department is paying for the travel costs of Archie and one carer, his parents want the whole family to go to Sydney, including three siblings, so they are not separated for up to four weeks.

Northern Star managing director Bill Beament was shocked that there was no back-up specialist.

“I couldn’t believe that in a State like this that sort of thing could happen,” he said.

“My three kids are very healthy but they’ve been in and out of PMH at different times since they were born, because it’s the place you go.

“We’ve had a great run as a company and most of our shareholders are WA-based, so this struck a chord with me, my wife and the other directors who have kids and grandkids.”

Beatment said he had written to Health Minister Kim Hames outlining the offer of $100,000 a year for two years.

Beatment added that the private sector should help to prop up wages in order to attract skilled workers.

“I appreciate the stress for that family who don’t want to be separated,” he said.

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