Goldfields Specialist Honoured by Top Award

A Kalgoorlie physician has been recognised by colleagues state-wide and the Lishman Health Foundation for his outstanding contribution to community health.

Dr Sean George was presented with the ‘Specialist of the Year’ award at the annual Rural Health West and WA Country Health Service WA Country Doctors’ Awards on Saturday evening.

The awards are presented annually at Rural Health West’s state conference. The Specialist of the Year award is sponsored by the Lishman Health Foundation.

The Foundation’s Chairperson, Dr Fionnuala Hannon PhD, said Dr George epitomised the values of the organisation.

“From its inception in 1997, the Foundation has held fast to the vision that people living in rural and regional areas should have access to quality health care,” she said.

“Country populations should not be less healthy than city populations but in reality, big cities tend to get more than their fair share of health services and the benefits of health research.  That includes specialist attention.

“Dr George stands as a salutary example of how this trend can be bucked. By all reports an outstanding specialist, who has dedicated his life and career to providing care and advice to people with diabetes throughout the Goldfields, and to nurturing junior doctors and nursing staff in the regional health service, Dr George has shown that true leadership can happen in the bush.

“You don’t have to be in the city to be at the top of your field. You don’t have to live in the city to get the best health care.”

The Lishman Health Foundation was set up in 1997 as a regionally based private charity dedicated to funding and promoting health research carried out in, and benefiting, non-metropolitan areas, inspired by south-west surgeon Dr Val Lishman.

It has funded a number of significant research projects, including a ground-breaking survey of Ross River virus in the south-west, which led to changes in public health practice, and a study of suicide prevention in rural areas which has resulted in an RACGP-accredited online training module for GPs in identifying and managing suicide risk in patients.

Current research projects include a study looking at more effective ways of detecting gestational diabetes in rural and remote areas, and a field-based investigation of ways to help regional families who have a child with autism.

Dr Hannon also thanked the conference organisers for being a positive force in country health.

“Rural Health West does an excellent job of maintaining a strong and vibrant health workforce in the country,” she said.

“In particular the annual conference is a vital and creative way to bring rural health providers together from around the state, enabling them to develop a strong community of practice.

“This in turn flows on to what it’s all about—the best possible health practices and outcomes for people living in the country.”