Voice of Real Australia: When contributions go beyond the bounds

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Dr Duncan MacKinnon and Dr Emma Thompson.

Dr Duncan MacKinnon and Dr Emma Thompson.

Humans like to put things in boxes - metaphorical and literal. We need tags to keep things in order. Or so it would seem.

It's not ever quite that simple though, is it?

Take Duncan MacKinnon. Professionally he'd wear a tag that identifies him as a GP. And as a member of the Bega community on the NSW Far South Coast, he'd be a regional Australian, too. He's also a community advocate. And hasn't his community needed him in the past year?

First of all, the region was hammered by hideous bushfires - physically and emotionally - and then on top of that, all the challenges coronavirus has presented this year.

From helping co-ordinate the local health response to the fires, including on the ground at the local evacuation centre, to being involved in the development of hand sanitiser stations during the pandemic and his continued commitment to teaching medical interns, Dr MacKinnon is a contributor.

And his deeds have been acknowledged - by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He's not the only one. The college honours a slew of achievers every year.

But it's important to remember they are not just GPs. They are confidants, advocates and caring human beings.

And even more comforting is knowing there's a Generation Next beyond the cities. The college also pays tribute to rural GPs in training across all the states and territories.

The NSW award winner this year was Dr Emma Thompson. She also works on the NSW South Coast. Just as impressive as her CV were her thoughts on regional Australia.

"There is some negativity associated with attracting doctors to work in communities outside of major cities but I can personally vouch that it is a very rewarding career path," Dr Thompson said. "Your work in the local community is not taken for granted and you quickly develop a varied and comprehensive skill set.

"So I encourage doctors, and indeed all healthcare workers, to give it a try."

And so say all of us.

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