Dr Geoff Arthurson, a GP at the Nuriootpa Medical Centre was one of three Barossa doctors who were recently honoured at the Rural Doctor’s Workforce Agency (RDWA) annual Rural GP conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre for serving their local community for more than 35 years.
Dr Adrian Griscti from Angaston Medical Centre and Dr Michael Hoopmann from Nuriootpa Medical Centre were also honoured.
Each of the nineteen GP’s who have served their rural communities were recognised by His Excellency, The Governor of S.A. Hieu Van Le and SA Minister for Health, Mr Stephen Wade for their outstanding contribution to the health of people living in rural and remote South Australia.
Dr Arthurson told The Leader it was an honour to have the service medals presented by Professor Ruth Stewart, the National Rural Health Commissioner and RDWA Chairman, Dr Michael Beckoff.
“It was a great night,” he said.
When looking back, Dr Arthurson said he vividly remembers his first day at Nuriootpa Medical Centre.
“I started here on January 2, 1985; it was my very first day in the office I sit in today,” he added.
“I was a new young doctor, and I remember one of my very first patients who came in that day sat down and said “I’m only seeing you because I can’t get in to see anyone else.”
Over 30 years later, Dr Arthurson has built up an extensive clientele, with many patients growing old with him.
“People come and go,” he said.
“Some move around doctors like they do cars, but a lot of my patients have been loyal and most I have looked after consistently.
“I like the longevity of patient care, it’s nice to be able to see them for a long time and get to know them.”
When asked what inspired Dr Arthurson to become a GP he told The Leader it was due to the array of things you could undertake.
“As a country GP you could do a lot of things like deliver babies, complete x-rays, provide postnatal care, assist with surgery, provide house calls and anaesthetics,” he added.
“There was a lot of variables but now it’s more office based because back then we didn’t have anywhere near the amount of specialists we have today.
“You had to deal with a lot more than you do now.”
Over the years, Dr Arthurson said unfortunately the things you remember, are the things that go wrong.
“They are the moments which will dominate you for a long time,” he said.
“It’s a lot of critical care situations that are very challenging because when it goes really well it is rewarding but when it goes bad it’s bad.
“Over time you lose patients and they pass away which is sad but you have to keep moving forward.
“If you let it control you, you will give up because in our line of work not everything can ever work out the way you intend it to.”
Despite the challenging moments the joyous ones conquer all.
“Delivering babies is always exciting,” he said.
“Probably the most joyous time is when you hand the mother and the father their new baby.
“Then you see those kids grow up and they come in to see me now.
“There would have to be about 30 or 40 babies a year which I used to deliver.
“Unfortunately, even though delivering babies is great, it’s the thing that makes you miss all the things that happen in your private life because you miss out on a lot of family events and time at home with your kids growing up.”