The Rural Doctors Association of NSW has recognised two outstanding rural doctors - one from Bellingen and the other from Crookwell - who have continued to dedicate their time, skills and voice to their communities, including during what has been a very challenging year.
Dr Trevor Cheney, from Three Rivers Health & Medical in Bellingen, was presented with the Bowman Cutter Award 2020 to acknowledge his exceptional services to RDANSW and his strong, ongoing advocacy for rural doctors and rural healthcare.
The award was presented by RDANSW President, Dr Charles Evill, during the Rural Health 20 virtual conference on Saturday night.
"Dr Cheney has worked as a doctor in Bellingen for over 19 years," Dr Evill said. "He also provided Obstetrics care there until the service was closed, despite his strong objections. He has continued to advocate for the preservation of rural hospital services, and he is passionate about appropriate remuneration for rural doctors.
"At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Cheney was one of the first GPs to work in collaboration with other private medical and health practitioners in his area, the Bellingen Shire, which set up a dedicated, drive through COVID-19 testing clinic. Throughout the pandemic, Dr Cheney has provided regular weekly updates via an online newsletter to keep residents informed and reassured.
"Dr Cheney is a GP VMO at his local hospital and works in his practice alongside his wife and Practice Manager, Vicki. While Dr Cheney has a strong focus on local issues and helping his local community, he also has the broader picture in view and continues to push NSW Health to keep rural services going across the state. He is also an active teacher and mentor.
"Dr Cheney epitomizes those qualities that RDANSW prizes in its role as an advocate for rural doctors. I have great pleasure in awarding the Bowman Cutter Award to Trevor. Keep up the great work Trevor and thanks a lot!"
Dr Ramaswamy Thangavelu, a solo GP in Crookwell who has dedicated 50 years to providing rural healthcare to his community, was presented with the Bill Hunter Award 2020.
- The Bowman Cutter Award commemorates the role played by Dr Geoff Cutter and Dr Chris Bowman in establishing the Rural Doctors Association in NSW. The Bill Hunter Award is named in honour of Dr Bill Hunter, a long-time rural doctor and surgeon in Moree who helped negotiate the settlement package for NSW rural doctors. He was often labelled the grandfather of the RDA.