WHEN Dr John Menzies and his wife Carolyn arrived in Camperdown 35 years ago they knew it was for good.
“I always felt like a fish out of water in the city,” he said.
“It wasn’t my natural environment. I’d always preferred to make the country my home base.”
Dr Menzies has been recognised by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) for his outstanding advocacy and medical service to the Camperdown community.
Dr Menzies, 65, grew up in Terang and said he and his wife were always both very country oriented.
“We knew we wanted to be up in the country and be a country GP,” he said.
He said his work had allowed him do a mixture of clinic and hospital work.
“The hospital in Camperdown is staffed by GPs like myself and visiting specialists and the work allows you to continually be engaged and extend yourself,” he said.
Dr Menzies said he’d delivered babies who’d he’d seen go on to have babies and he planned to continue working as long as he stayed “upright”.
“The good thing about being a GP is you can modify the work to your capacity,” he said.
“It looks like we’re beginning to get a good number of young doctors coming back and beginning to take things on.”
Dr Menzies began practising in Camperdown in 1978 after working as a junior doctor in the navy, then training in procedural obstetrics at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
He received the Peter Graham ‘Cohuna’ Award on Saturday night in Cairns, where ACRRM president, Professor Richard Murray, described him as “an exemplar of the rural generalist”, providing a wide range of community and hospital services including obstetrics, anaesthetics and emergency care.
“John has played a key role in ensuring that the people of Camperdown and surrounding towns have continued to have local access to obstetric and other procedural service despite the frequent closure of small hospital obstetric services across rural Victoria over the past three decades,” Professor Murray said.
“It is this commitment to the health and safety of his community, to providing quality medical services that people in cities take for granted, which qualifies him for the national honour of the Peter Graham ‘Cohuna’ Award.”
Professor Murray said Dr Menzies has also been a dedicated teacher and mentor of junior doctors and medical students, and involved in all the major initiatives in rural medical education over the past two to three decades.