Meet Jethro Le Roy – You’ll find him in his practice, or on the water

Member news
23 August 2016

Dr Jethro Le Roy grew up in the Bay of Plenty town of Te Puke. He now lives in sunny Papamoa, right across from the beach. On top of being a GP, Jethro is also a GP teacher and an examiner for the College’s General Practice Education Programme.

Jethro’s journey into medicine was a bit different to those I’ve heard before. It involved dealing with livers, lungs and hearts. Not human organs though, animals. And no, he wasn’t a vet.

“I left school when I was 15. At the time, earning money seemed more appealing to me than studying.”

Jethro took up a job at a nearby kiwifruit orchard and eventually moved on to a job at the local freezing works. This is where the animal offal came into the picture. Jethro’s job was to sort through slippery organs that would eventually make pet food. I squirmed at the idea but obviously 17 year old GP-to-be Jethro wasn’t squeamish at all.

With his hard earned money, Jethro took off to the UK with two mates as a fresh-faced 20 year old ready to see the world, and that he did. It wasn’t until five years later that he decided to take on a science degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. He went on to complete his honours but still knew he could do more.

He made the move back to New Zealand to complete his med school years at Otago. During med school Jethro and his wife welcomed two of their three children.

Just before our interview, Jethro had popped out with his registrar to catch the Rugby 7s final during the Rio Olympics. “It was a bugger that we lost,” he says sounding disappointed. After the game he taught his registrar about treating fibromyalgia and other associated and hard to treat illnesses, and sounded definitely more excited about that.

Jethro has a love for GP teaching, and enjoys having his registrars in. “For me teaching is about improving your own skills as a GP. You have to be on top of your game to teach, and that’s important to me.

“Getting involved in GP teaching is a good opportunity for anyone – it is extra work but it’s worth it. My practice is a busy one, but it’s on the smaller scale. Having students in adds a bit more diversity and life to the practice,” Jethro tells me.

Jethro’s role as an examiner of the upcoming end-of-placement exams for our registrars has him away from his family for around three days. “I’m away from home for a few days, but at the same time, seeing and working with my peers gives me that collegiality that I wouldn’t otherwise get from being in my practice here in Te Puke.”

Jethro and his family are busy during the week and at the weekends with sports and training sessions for their three boys. Jethro coaches his kids’ rugby teams and his wife is the sports coordinator at the local school.

Living right across from the beach, they spend a lot of time out on the water during the summer months kayaking and surfing. Jethro also likes to get out fishing a couple times a week and cook fish for the family.

It just goes to show that you can go from an offal handler at 15 to a successful GP all in one life-time. From the local freezing works to a beachy, sporty, GP, teacher and examiner. Jethro’s cracked it.