COUNTRY DOCTOR: Dr Robin Matthews, awarded the 2016 NSW Rural Medical Service Award for more than 35 years of service to medicine in the Lower Clarence.
COUNTRY DOCTOR: Dr Robin Matthews, awarded the 2016 NSW Rural Medical Service Award for more than 35 years of service to medicine in the Lower Clarence. Adam Hourigan

Dr Mathews honoured for his service to rural health

WHEN Dr Robin Mathews first moved from Sydney to become a GP in Maclean in 1978, he had no idea he would spend the next 38 years serving the community and their medical needs.

For his dedication, Dr Mathews was honoured by the NSW Rural Doctors Network with their Rural Medical Service Award.

After almost 40 years in Maclean, Dr Mathews said he is excited about the prospect of mentoring the next generation of medical students and doctors to make the transition into rural practice.

"I think it's important to realise that rural practise is very rewarding and we need to be encouraging the next generation to make that move, and I think they're beginning to see the light," he said.

"We've gone from three in Maclean and about two in Yamba to what we have now, which is about 10 in Maclean and six in Yamba.

"There's quite a surplus of doctors coming in and I believe that three or four extra medical schools have been added, so even though my generation is getting close to retiring and there's a few of us who will be retiring soon, there's enough to fill the gaps if they're trained to be confident in general practise, and even though it's challenging it is extremely rewarding."

Dr Mathews said it had been an honour to be of service to the community during his career, and counts the initiation of the new Rehabilitation Unit in Maclean Hospital, as well as starting the outreach services to Bulgar Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Service, as his biggest achievements.

RDN CEO Richard Colbran said Dr Mathews had made a significant contribution to the community with his continuity of care and mentoring medical students in rural general practice.



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