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Rural health professionals awarded for service and contributions to country NSW

26th November 2021


Six outstanding GPs have been honoured with a 2021 Rural Medical Service Award at the opening night of the digital 2021 Rural GPs Conference.  

Each year RDN recognises rural GPs who have achieved 35+ years’ service to remote, rural and regional communities in NSW. 

In spite of the many challenges of recent years - drought, floods, bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic - rural health professionals have continued to deliver high-quality health care to their communities. We take this opportunity to thank all of you for your hard work, not only this year but throughout your careers.  

Congratulations to the 2021 awardees: 

Congratulations again to this year's awardees, and thank you again for your long-standing commitment and dedication to your communities.

Read more about the awardees below


Rural health relies on a whole team of professionals. As part of our annual service awards, RDN wishes to acknowledge a range of health professionals for their service to their rural communities, and thank them for their dedication and contributions.

Thank you to: 

  • Kim Weeks, Practice Manager and Nurse in Goulburn 
  • Vicki Grant, Pharmacist in Canowindra 
  • Christine Corby OAM, CEO of Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service 
  • Richard Cheney, Executive Director of Allied Health and Innovation, Western NSW LHD.

We look forward to expanding and growing these awards next year in 2022. 

Vince Roche



Associate Professor Vince Roche 

Dr Roche has served the communities of Bundanoon, Moss Vale and Bowral over the past 35 years. 

Currently he practises at Southern Medical Practice in Moss Vale where he has been since 1986.  

“Thanks to all my colleagues, nurses and midwives and other staff who have helped me in my enjoyable career as a rural GP - and especially my patients who have (mostly!) brightened my life. And of course my family who tolerated my missed family dinners, family occasions, ruined weekends and nights - courtesy of "mistress medicine"!” 




Dr Vicki McCartney Vicki McCartney

Dr McCartney has been a GP in the Shoalhaven region for the past 35 years, beginning when she moved to Nowra in 1986. A career highlight for Dr McCartney is being part of a female trio that established their own general practice in 1998, which has now grown and evolved into a second practice.  

“Thank you to the NSW RDA who have always worked so hard to encourage doctors to consider rural practice & supported GPs in many ways. I hope I have contributed in a small way to show the joys & rewards of a rural GP to all my students & registrars. Not all of them stay rural, but even their understanding of the challenges & reality of our role is valuable, I believe.” 





Dr Judy Haines Judy haines

Dr Haines has been a GP in Woolgoolga for the past 35 years, where she began working alongside Dr John Kramer and Dr Rodney Hannaford in 1985 at the practice now known as Beach Street Family Practice.  Dr Haines has had the privilege of being able to form many long-term relationships with her patients and their families, often treating multiple generations of the same family. 







Dr Jamie Starkey Jamie Starkey

Dr Starkey has served the Shoalhaven region as a GP in Nowra, Kiama and Albion Park for the past 35 years. Since 1986 he has practised at Worrigee Street Medical Centre in Nowra.  

“It has been an honour to attend to the medical needs of the patients in the Shoalhaven region, both as a GP and an emergency doctor. As I have aged my fields of expertise have also changed, this has been a constant but rewarding challenge.” 






Dr Garry Lyford Garry lyford

Before retiring this year, Dr Lyford served the community of Gloucester for 35 years at Gloucester Medical Centre.  

“It has been a great privilege to work as a GP in the small country town of Gloucester. A country doctor has a unique opportunity to observe, participate in and influence the lives of so many people. And so often we don't realise the special part we play in people's lives. Many times in my last weeks before retirement I heard patients say-" You can't go - you're part of our family". There are many intimidating medical challenges when working remote from the city with diminished resources. The support of colleagues has been crucial, as has the educational support of RDN and the RACGP. Special thanks also to Doctors for the Environment who were so supportive of the work to safeguard our local environment. But most importantly thanks to my wife and family who have played such a significant role in supporting me and the town of Gloucester. You have enriched this place just as it has enriched you.” 



Dr Stephen Morris Stephen Morris

Dr Morris joined Clarinda Street Surgery in Parkes 36 years ago, and as a rural proceduralist has coupled general practice with an active obstetrics and surgical practice.  

“As a rural proceduralist, my activities have been many and varied and occurred in the General Practice and hospital settings. I am grateful for the expertise of my well trained and proficient colleagues especially the anaesthetists, midwives and nurses.” 

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