Five GPs’ outstanding service recognised in College awards 

9 August 2021

Five GPs from across New Zealand have been awarded the President’s Service Medal for their outstanding contributions to The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.  

The GPs (from Canterbury, Wellington, Kaikohe, and Mission Bay) have contributed in numerous ways to the College’s training programme, ensuring trainees have all the necessary skills and resources to successfully complete their requirements. 

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “It is a privilege to acknowledge this group of GPs who show such dedication to the training of the next generation of general practitioners. 

“This group are also active contributors within their communities and are very deserving of this award.” 

This year, the President’s Service Medals are awarded to: 

Dr Shane Cross | Kaikohe 

Dr Cross has worked as a GP in Kaikohe for over thirty years, practicing medicine in a high-needs community based medical centres in the heart of the Far North. Over this time Dr Cross has dedicated himself to his work and patients.  

Over the past decade in his role as Chair of Broadway Health Management, Dr Cross has grown one clinic into four (plus a satellite clinic) throughout the Far North. These clinics serve nearly 17,000 patients across Kaikohe, Waipapa, Kaitaia, Kāeo, and Okaihau.  

Within the College, Dr Cross has worked as an accredited teaching general practitioner for more than a decade and has mentored the many students who have undertaken a placement at his practice. He holds himself, and others to a high standard and consistently receives positive feedback about his mentoring. 

Dr Alison Begg | Lyttleton 

Throughout her career, Dr Begg has been a champion for quality teaching and learning within the College’s training programme and is well-known for her expertise in communication skills for practitioners. Her work has become the benchmark in the teaching of communication skills in New Zealand.  

This expertise has come through her participation with the Balint Society, whose approach is focused on clinicians understanding the meaning of a patient’s behaviour and symptoms and getting to know their patients as individuals within their society. 

Dr Begg is an advocate for reflective practice at all levels of training, and alongside her colleagues in Canterbury, has facilitated small reflective practice groups for College trainees who are going through their first year of training. 

She has also established peer supervision groups for the College’s General Practice Education Programme (GPEP) medical educators to enable them to discuss challenges in their teaching, share ideas, and learn small group facilitation skills.   

Dr Frances McClure | Mission Bay 

Dr McClure is a well-known and respected GP in her local Mission Bay community, where she has practiced for more than 40 years. Her genuine dedication to the community is highly valued by her patients with many of them now bringing their own children and grandchildren to see her. 

Throughout her career, Dr McClure has committed to a mana-enhancing practice. She is well-known for actively promoting the values that epitomise the role of a GP – respect, dignity, and integrity. 

She is a strong advocate for women’s health and was instrumental in the adoption of new legislation supporting better access to funded contraception in the 1990s. She was a GP representative on PHARMAC’s Therapeutic and Advisory Committee (PTAC) Sub-Committees related to women’s health, and helped to develop the New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Osteoporosis.  

Dr McClure is retiring next month from a medical career in which she has shown an outstanding commitment to high-quality, safe, compassionate medical practice. 

Dr Chris Wright | Wellington  

Dr Wright started his career in Wainuiomata in 1987, and in 2000 was the founding GP of the Waiwhetu Medical Centre, a new iwi-based health service in Lower Hutt. Subsequently, he returned to private practice as a partner at Naenae Medical Centre. 

Within the College, he has been a GPEP1 teacher for the last 20 years and a medical educator for the training programme in Wellington during that time, mentoring new generations of GPs as they progressed through their training. 

As a respected GP he has served on the Medical Council's professional conduct committee, retiring this year after 32 years of work. In this role his knowledge and experience has contributed to fair outcomes in conduct hearings of his colleagues. 

Dr Maia Melbourne-Wilcox | Christchurch 

Dr Melbourne-Wilcox (Ngati Tuhoe) is currently the Chair of the Primary Care Division of Te Kaupapa Whakakaupapa Urutā National Māori Pandemic Group. She worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by coordinating a group of dedicated Māori GPs across the country to ensure Māori are heard and prioritised in the local, and national level decision making processes. 

Within the College, Dr Melbourne-Wilcox has been instrumental in ensuring the clinical and written registrar examinations are culturally appropriate, and she is a part of the current curriculum review.