Back where she belongs
MOST people have heard the story of the prodigal son, but here's a tale about the prodigal doctor.
Meet Dr Maxine Percival who just spent almost 30 years seeing the residents of Moree through the best and worst times in their lives (not to mention helping to deliver more than 2000 babies), and will next week join the team at the Maclean Medical Centre as she moves into semi-retirement.
And being born and bred in the Clarence Valley, she can't wait to get back into her home area and start helping her fellow community members.
Growing up in Lawrence, Dr Percival attended Maclean High School before leaving the Valley to study medicine at the University of Sydney where she developed a special interest in women's health, pregnancy, paediatrics, general medicine and chronic disease.
Her career led her to Moree where she settled with her husband and as the town's first resident female doctor, worked for the next 28 years as a GP obstetrician and visiting medical officer at Moree Hospital, helping to deliver babies and assisting countless patients with their health problems.
Dr Percival's work and her contributions to the Moree community earned her the title of Rural Doctor of the Year in 2009.
But after almost three decades, Dr Percival decided to scale back her work and return to a place close to her heart - the Clarence Valley, where she and her husband plan to live, at Brooms Head.
"It was very fulfilling and rewarding working at Moree but I thought it was just time to cut back on the workload and long hours.
"I was working about 50-60 hours a week for 28 years," Dr Percival said.
Dr Percival said she loved to work in smaller towns where she could become a real part of the community and said she was eager to do this in Maclean.
Dr Percival will begin seeing patients at the Maclean Medical Centre from next week.