Why lucrative packages are not enough to keep GPs in the bush
(ABC Capricornia: Lisa Clarke) ABC Capricornia
Jacquie Mackay and Emilia Terzon
April 05, 2018 10:56:32
Dr Richard Tan is celebrating 50 years as a GP in the small town of Biloela this week.
I’ve got a farm where I now raise squab pigeons and fish.”Despite hitting the 50-year milestone this week, Dr Tan has no plans to retire.”While I’m in good health and I can still remember people’s names, I think I’ll keep going for a bit longer,” he said.That is welcome news to Ms KcKeown.”The community have been blessed to have had the continuing care of such a competent and knowledgeable and caring doctor,” she said. I don’t like traffic and built up areas. As rural locations across Australia struggle to attract new doctors, a GP in one small central Queensland town is celebrating a very special milestone.Born overseas, Dr Richard Tan first arrived in Biolela to work as a doctor in the 1960s.”It was a small town but it was very friendly,” Dr Tan said.”Being the only Chinaman in town, I didn’t notice any sort of racial discrimination at that time.”Biloela resident Marilyn McKeown was one of Dr Tan’s first patients when he opened up a surgery in the middle of town in 1968.”I was a very young and pregnant 17-year-old,” Ms McKeown said.”I [still] remember that feeling of confidence in him at that first appointment in 1968. I prefer my quiet existence in the small town.”You can’t help that some of your patients are your close friends as well, so that’s been quite rewarding.”
After 50 years in town, Dr Tan no longer does emergency calls out to the hospital. It was a very significant moment for me.”Dr Tan ended up delivering Ms McKeown’s baby and two more sons that followed, as well as countless other babies born in Biloela in the last 50 years.”Because I did obstetrics, I’ve seen a couple of generations of children grow up in that time,” he said.Doctor has delivered countless babiesDr Tan and his wife also had children of their own, which cemented their place in the town.”Once I settled into the practice and the children were growing up and going to school, we just stayed on,” he said.”I don’t like the big smoke. (ABC News)
Dr Tan stopped delivering babies last year, and no longer does night calls or emergency call-outs.”Life is pretty easy at the moment,” he said.”Over the years, I’ve had an interest in racing horses.
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