GPs strong community spirit recognised with College of GPs award  

25 July 2022

A Picton-based general practitioner who is committed to her community and the general practice workforce has been recognised with a Community Service Medal from The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

The Community Service Medal recognises members who have made an outstanding contribution to general practice through work in their own communities.  

Specialist general practitioner Dr Jessica Sterenborg  established a digital platform that connects all Marlborough general practitioners and has worked hard to forge links between local primary (community) and secondary (hospital) care.

Within her community Dr Sterenborg leads the local refugee resettlement programme and took on a major role in monitoring the thousands of unregistered patients in the Marlborough region who contracted COVID-19.

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “Hearing about all the extra work our specialist general practitioners are doing behind the scenes for their colleagues and communities really makes me proud to be part of this amazing group of people.

“Dr Sterenborg’s passion for general practice is refreshing and we need more enthusiastic and hard-working doctors like her to join us in this rewarding vocation.”

In another example showing how general practitioners are dedicated to their patients and communities, Dr Sterenborg gave up her day off to work in a newly established local practice one day a week to provide collegial support to the sole general practitioner who was running the practice.

In 2017, Dr Sterenborg worked on a project looking at how to prevent dangerous drug dependence and decrease opiate addiction. Her work was recognised nationally, and she became the first general practitioner in New Zealand to receive a Health Quality and Safety Commission award for emerging healthcare leaders.