Legends of the bush celebrated

RDAQ award winners for 2019 announced


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A true legend of the bush was honoured at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland gala dinner in Cairns.

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A TRUE legend of the bush was honoured at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland gala dinner in Cairns on Saturday night, with awards given to outstanding rural medicos.

Dr Cameron Bardsley took out the legend of the bush award after spending two decades serving as medical superintendent at St George.

Dr Bardsley is one of the longest serving medical superintendents in Queensland and only the fifth person to fill that role at St George Hospital in the last 100 years.

He was honoured for his leadership in helping to retain permanent, experienced and passionate medical staff in the region during times when it has been difficult to attract and retain staff in rural areas.

"Rural medicine is not easy, it is hard, many doctors don't last 20 years in the bush. This evening we acknowledge that and say thank you to Cameron - legend of the bush," outgoing RDAQ president Neil Beaton said.

Dr Bardsley said he was humbled to receive the award and named other rural doctors that he believed were more worthy of the title 'legend.'

"The patients come first no matter what.

"I'm very humbled."

There were dual winners of the David Horn Memorial Award this year, Dr Christopher Appleby and Dr Patsy Bjeregaard.

Dr Appleby has spent 20 years living in north west Queensland providing practice management expertise to general practices in the region.

He has been a director of the North West Hospital and Health Service and a director of the Western Queensland Primary Health Network since 2016. He now spends most of his time working in the Gidgee Healing clinic in Normanton.

Dr Bjeregaard began her career in Cairns as an occupational therapist with special interests in childhood development and indigenous health. In 1994 she joined Dr Clive Hadfield and Dr Richard Heazlewood to create the Cape York Paediatric Outreach Program in an area of real need.

The RDAQ meritorious service award went to Dr Don Bowley.

The Denis Lennox Medal - Outstanding Rural Registrar award went to Dr Ebonney Van Der Meer, who now works in Cooktown.

Tina Hamilton of Proserpine and Caroline Hennessey, Beaudesert were named joint Backbone of the Bush winners.

Several outstanding medical students and academic achievers were also given awards including:

  • Shaiba Chatterjee - University of Queensland student prize winner
  • Amelia Sah and Ricarda Their - Manahan-Koppen Award student prize winners
  • Michael Pitt - JCU student prize winner
  • Samantha Litzow - Bond Univeristy student prize winner
  • Nichole Dore - Academic Award Winner
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