Statement thanking Dr Ewen McPhee for rural health leadership

I wish to roundly congratulate out-going ACRRM President, Dr Ewen McPhee on his service, leadership, and commitment to the rural health training sector.

Dr McPhee has served in his role as ACRRM President for the past two years with passion, dedication, and a real understanding of rural practise.

His unwavering commitment to improving access to rural health services and building the rural medical training pipeline are key elements of Dr McPhee’s proud legacy.

In his time as President, Dr McPhee has driven the rollout of the Rural Generalist Pathway, played a pivotal role in increasing training opportunities in the bush, and backed the extension and expansion of the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Reforming primary health care has been a key focus for the Government and through this process.

Dr McPhee has emphasised the need to better connect rural health services and for greater continuity of care for country people.

Country doctors are known for their commitment to workforce development and training. Among them, Dr McPhee stands tall through his commitment to training and mentoring doctors and in his leadership of ACRRM.

The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are not lost on Dr McPhee.

Protecting rural, regional, and remote communities is an integral part of the Australian Government’s health response and Dr McPhee led the way in ensuring rural and remote communities were prepared to respond to COVID-19.

The first GP Respiratory Clinic opened in regional Australia is at Dr McPhee’s Emerald Medical Group clinic in Emerald, where his team of health professionals, including those undertaking training, have provided and maintained the important service for the community.

The Australian Government values Dr McPhee’s input and advice on the rollout of COVID-19 health measures, which includes the rapid expansion of telehealth.

Dr McPhee leaves a substantial legacy and I want to thank him immensely for his advocacy for rural training as ACRRM President and for his counsel, insight, and friendship to me as Regional Health Minister.

Dr McPhee’s conclusion as President presents an opportunity for another proud rural practitioner with Dr Sarah Chalmers, a rural generalist doctor working in Townsville and Winton, taking on the roll.

I look forward to working with Dr Chalmers to develop more training opportunities that make the most of the rewarding career and lifestyle opportunities on offer in the bush.

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