Dr Graeme Fenton, a Northland stalwart family GP for more than 50 years, was presented the Eric Elder Memorial Medal at the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ annual conference in Auckland at the weekend for his service and commitment to GP education.

Paeroa GP Martin Mikaere, who opted to become a GP in his home town rather than continuing his orthopaedic training, gave a presentation at the conference before being presented the Peter Anyon Memorial Medal for being a role model for future GP trainees.

College president Dr Tim Malloy described Eric Elder Memorial Medal winner Graeme Fenton as the “ultimate family doctor, an oracle of health politics, a visionary of rural care” who had never forgotten the importance of the patient and their whanau in his more than 50 years of caring for his community.

“He is a true generalist – using his skills to deliver babies or suture wounds – be it farmer, hunter or pet,” said Malloy. “Everyone in his local community, Moerewa, would regard him as being an integral part of their family.”

The College also presented honorary fellowships to Professor Peter Crampton for his contributions to general practice as Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences and to dermatologist and DermNet NZ founder Associate Professor Amanda Oakley for her services to general practice.

Community Service Medals were presented to Dargaville GP Dr Lawrie Herd who helped establish a skin cancer clinic in Dargaville and Dr Alainuanua Diana Tupai one of the first Samoan woman GPs in South Auckland who has been a firm believer in community participation to help improve health outcomes.

Distinguished fellowships were presented to Dr Keith Carey-Smith, Dr Kerryn Lum, Dr Stephen Main, Dr Andrew Miller, Dr Warwick Palmer, Dr Mark Peterson, Dr Brian Walsh and Dr Tim Malloy.

During the weekend’s conference the College welcomed more than 160 new Fellows including 10 new Māori Fellows.

A Fellowship is the culmination of at least 11 years’ work, which typically includes six years’ medical study, two years’ pre-vocational training and three years completing the College’s General Practice Education Programme (GPEP).

Amongst the Fellows welcomed were 10 new Māori Fellows bringing the number of  Māori Fellows  to 120 and College President Dr Tim Malloy said through its Māori strategy He Rautaki Māori, it was committed to supporting the GP workforce in improving the health outcomes of Māori and their whānau.

“The strategy aims to increase the number of Māori general practitioners, as part of our plan to enable a culturally and clinically competent general practitioner workforce, and to provide leadership and advocacy across the primary health sector. The ultimate aim is achieving equitable health outcomes for Māori.”

This year’s new Fellows were welcomed at the 2018 Fellowship and Awards Ceremony, which was hosted as part of the annual Conference for General Practice. Also welcomed were five new Fellows of the College’s Division of Rural Hospital Medicine.

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