A doctor and a friend: Thakur's service rewarded
THE citation for the recognition of Dr Anil Thakur's 35years of service to rural medicine covers many pages, his career spanning general practice, surgery and other specialities.
"There was a bit of a gasp when they read it all out,” DrThakur said.
Dr Thakur was recognised with a Rural Medical Service Award for his 35 years of service across the community during the 2018 Rural GPs conference in Sydney last weekend.
He arrived in Australia in 1972, practising with his wife Usha across the country. In 1985, he started work as a surgeon at Maclean District Hospital and together they started the Clarence Medical Centre Practice, which he sold to the current owners this year.
Dr Thakur said he believed becoming part of the local community was integral to being a good rural doctor.
"You got to mix in and be part of the community,” he said.
"When we broke the wall to first build the practice, I went and had a beer with the builder that night. I try to think of people as friends, and I have many patients who have become good friends.
"You've also got to expect to take phone calls after hours. My phone number is known to a lot of my patients and I still get calls.”
With a passion for teaching, he has supervised many medical students in the past 30 years and is a senior lecturer and examiner of clinical medicine for the University of Wollongong, something he has long held a passion for.
"We were the first practice here to accept students when we had them coming from Sydney university in 1986,” he said.
"Back then there was no money, you taught for love.”
Dr Thakur said now, students from almost every university in the country had come through the medical centre, some of them going on to become surgeons here and overseas.
"Sometimes I feel like playing at being (Harry Potter character Professor) Dumbledore, transferring my knowledge to the student. I tell them I give them each one of my grey hairs,” he laughed.
Rural Doctors Network CEO Richard Colbran said DrThakur had made a significant contribution to his rural community by providing high-quality continuity of care.
"It is rare for rural doctors to be formally recognised for the outstanding contribution they make to their community and acknowledged for the work they do,” Mr Colbran said.
"This award provides a unique opportunity for the people of Maclean to acknowledge the difference DrThakur makes to the health and well-being of the community.”
Dr Thakur has stepped back from operating at Maclean hospital but still works three half-days ("sometimes more”) at the medical centre.