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Rural doctors awarded for long-standing service to country NSW

9th December 2022

Each year RDN recognises rural GPs who have achieved 35+ years’ service to remote, rural and regional communities in NSW.RMSA22-thumb

This year, ten outstanding GPs were honoured with a 2022 Rural Medical Service Award at the RH22 Rural GPs Conference.

The dinner was held live for the first time in three years, giving people the opportunity to come together, catch up, reminisce, and celebrate in person.

Amongst those who made the journey to attend the awards dinner were 2020 award winners Dr Sandra Gaffney and Dr Hal Rikard-Bell, their ability to celebrate their achievements in person postponed due to Covid.

Congratulations to the 2022 awardees and thank you for your service.

A moving tribute to the late Dr Geoff white was given by RDN Chair Dr John Kramer and CEO Richard Colbran. Dr White was a key figure and founding member in the establishment of RDN, passionately advocating for rural medicine while serving his community as a much-loved General Practitioner for four decades. His sense of community and commitment remain at the heart of RDN’s vision and purpose. Dr White’s wife and three daughters were honoured guests on the evening.



Dr Anthony Plummer

For service to the Nelson Bay area

PlummerDr Plummer joined the Nelson Bay Medical Centre in 1982, where he was part-owner from 1982 to 2022. He enjoys golfing and gardening, which he will have more time for once he retires in 2024, after 42 years as a general practitioner.









Dr Colin FarquharsonFarquharson

For service to the community of Kempsey

Dr Farquharson worked at Wollongong Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown, and Katherine Hospital before arriving in Kempsey in 1986, where he spent the greater part of his professional career. Dr Farquharson is involved with the Aboriginal Medical Service and works as a doctor at the local Mid North Coast Correctional Centre. He has been a valued teacher to medical students and young doctors, while finding time to advocate on behalf of the rural medical profession in support of local health services.






Dr Peter Finlayson

For service to the communities of Narromine, Henty and the New England region. 

Dr Peter Finlayson began his career at Sutherland Hospital, before spending time in Narromine and Henty. Dr Finlayson then left NSW for Wangaratta and Benalla, before returning to the North West of NSW in 1997, where he has held multiple roles, and been involved with issues concerning rural health medicine at local, state and national levels.

Congratulations to Dr Peter Finlayson who also received the RDANSW Bowman Cutter Award at the dinner.






Dr Peter Annetts

For service to the community of Glen Innes. 

Dr Peter Annetts has worked at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sutherland Hospital, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown, before relocating to Glen Innes, where he has since practiced with his wife, Dr Patricia Mackay. During his time serving this region, Dr Annetts has been the Principal of his own practice since 1983, has served as Chairman for the Glen Innes Medical Staff Council, was involved in the formation of RDA NSW and RDAA Foundation Fellow Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, was awarded RDAA Rural Doctor of the Year in 2013 and received the RDA NSW Bill Hunter Award for exceptional service in 2015.

Dr Annetts would like to acknowledge the work of Ross Haron and Phil Correy “whose dedication to the Hospital and to health care in general spans a similar period of time.”




Dr Nicholas O’Ryan

For service to the township of Canowindra

Dr Nicholas O’Ryan worked at Orange Base Hospital after finishing University. He then started his own practice in 1987 and has been in continuous service as practice principal ever since. Dr O’Ryan was honoured in 2015 with a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to medicine as a general practitioner in the Canowindra region.


Dr Patricia Mackay

For service to the community of Glen Innes

Dr Patricia Mackay has worked alongside her husband, Dr Peter Annetts, throughout their time in Glen Innes, both in their private practice and as a GP Obstetrician at Glen Innes District Hospital. Dr Mackay has delivered most of the babies in Glen Innes for the past 35 years, and remains one of the very few female rural GP Obstetricians who is still performing caesarean section deliveries.


Dr Gregory Campbell

For service to the communities of Trangie, Lake Cargelligo, Tumut and Wauchope

Dr Gregory Campbell worked as a country locum in Trangie, Lake Cargelligo and Tumut, before settling in Wauchope, where he has served the local community since 1987, as a GP at Campbell St surgery and as a VMO at Wauchope Hospital from 1987-2017.


Dr Vijay Pandya

For service to the community of Dubbo

Born in Uganda, Dr Vijay Pandya completed his Higher School Certificate in the country town of Narromine. After qualifying as a general practitioner, he returned to rural NSW, where he has been ever since. Dr Pandya is a founding member of Dubbo Medical and Allied Health Group (DMHAG) and has supervised doctors and registrars for the past twelve years.


Dr Anthony Adams

For service to the community of Macksville

Tony joined Star Street Medical Centre in 1986 and remains working as an owner and GP in the practice. In 2013, Tony was accredited to supervise GP registrars and has subsequently mentored and shared in the training of more than 20 registrars. Tony has been a patron of the local surf lifesaving club for many years, and recently reduced his workload to 4-days a week, to enjoy more time with his extended family.


Dr Kenneth Whyte

For service to the community of Lismore

Dr Kenneth Whyte has been practicing continuously at the Keen Street Clinic since 1987 until the present day, as well as VMO at St Vincent’s Private and Lismore Base Hospitals.


Dr Sandra Gaffney

For serving the communities of Dubbo and Cobar. 

Dr Gaffney was a 2020 Rural Medical Award recipient and has been a GP in Dubbo since 1981, a VMO at Dubbo Private Hospital since 1989, and a VMO at Lourdes Hospital for palliative care since 1990. Dr Gaffney also practised in Cobar as a self-employed GP and a VMO at Cobar District Hospital between 1986 and 1988.

Dr Gaffney was a 2020 Rural Medical Award recipient.






Dr Hal Rikard-Bell

For service to the communities of West Wyalong and Bathurst. 

Dr Rikard-Bell began his career in West Wyalong where he was a GP and a VMO at Wyalong District Hospital, for over 16 years. His career then took him to Russell St. Medical Centre, Bathurst in 1996, where he has been a partner for the past 24 years. Dr Rikard-Bell has also been a VMO at Bathurst Base Hospital for the past 20 years.

Dr Rikard-Bell was a 2020 Rural Medical Award recipient.




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


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