Rural GP receives Eric Elder award

Date published
7 Aug 2015

Kawhia GP Dr John Burton was awarded the Eric Elder Memorial Medal at the College of GPs 2015 conference in Hamilton recently. The honour was bestowed on the long-time rural GP and Network member after he and his Kawhia Health Centre team received a standing ovation for their practice model of care presentation, which included their work as a teaching practice.

“I’m thrilled to have received the award, but would never put my name up there with Eric’s. I worked in Riverton just after he retired and covered Tuatapere when on call. There were so many stories about Eric arriving to see a sick baby at home well after the parents had fallen asleep. The parents would wake in the morning to find a bottle of medicine, instructions, and the nappies changed. We visited Eric and his wife, and Sue recorded fascinating stories from them both.”

Dr Burton said they were all surprised by how warmly their conference address was received “as we weren’t putting forward any great innovations”.

“From feedback I’ve received, it seems people liked the focus on the teamwork of the staff and the centrality of building relationships with patients. I guess these things can get lost if we shift our focus to increasing throughput and gaining efficiencies through IT.”

The award honours Eric Elder, a GP who lived and worked in Tuatapere for 60 years, and pioneered general practice training, including the use of peer review and the creation of rural training programmes.

It was presented to Dr Burton by College president Dr Tim Malloy. To view the presentation click HERE.