THE GOOD DOCTOR: Dr Manu Nithianantha has embraced Blackwater during the 10 years of running his own  medical practice.
THE GOOD DOCTOR: Dr Manu Nithianantha has embraced Blackwater during the 10 years of running his own medical practice. Wade Boyes

Community medicine

BLACKWATER'S Dr Manu Nithianantha has had a remarkable journey in running his own private medical practice for 10 years.

At North Blackwater General Practice, Dr Nithianantha had always had his sights set on running a private rural practice because of the control he could have.

"Being able to control ones' own environment, which usually leads to a more definitive path towards ones' ambition and vision,” Dr Nithianantha said.

"My vision was to always have a multidisciplinary, one-stop shop, holistic service in the Central Highlands.

"It also means being able to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work.”

Resilience has been a major point for Dr Nithianantha, with the financial pressures of managing a private practice mounting up over the years.

"To be honest, starting it was easy,” he said.

"It's growing it and maintaining it that is the extremely difficult part.

"The last 10 years has been the biggest downturn in Australian mining in recent times, so imagine starting up a practice at the start of that, and survive through that while everyone is going bankrupt.

"I didn't pay myself a salary for many years because I couldn't afford it.”

Dr Nithianantha has spent a lot of years working in rural towns, and he has come to enjoy the rural lifestyle and people who have, in turn, embraced his contribution to the Blackwater region.

"I know the vast majority of the public are very grateful,” he said.

"I've had plenty of my colleagues in cities tell me that a lot of the patients who see them are very grateful for what we do back here.

"Particularly because I didn't just set up an office-based practice. I set up a practice that could do complicated and complex treatments.”

The point of difference that has sustained Dr Nithianantha's business is his ability to diversify to accommodate both mining and community medicine.

"Thankfully, unlike a lot of my colleagues who chased only mining, I didn't do that because that was the downfall for a huge number of medical businesses, set up around mining” he said.

"I always prioritised community medicine. Mining came to us because we were permanent, survived the downturn and the ambitions of bringing all those services to one spot.”