Taupō-based rural medicine hospital specialist Dr Jeremy Webber has been awarded Distinguished Fellowship of The Division of Rural Hospital Medicine, part of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
Since 2016 Dr Webber has been working on the frontline at Taupō Hospital, and in 2021 began a new role as the Clinical Director of the NZ Rural Network where he advocates for the rural hospital workforce.
Chair of The Division of Rural Hospital Medicine Dr Andrew Morgan says, “Working rurally is a whole different ball game and there is a real need to get more passionate and enthusiastic people like Dr Webber working the more remote parts of our country.
“In this role you can truly serve communities and their health needs – sometimes being the only medical professional around for miles. Dr Webber is a great role model for rural health medicine, and I hope more young doctors are encouraged to work in this area.”
Dr Webber’s rural journey started as a farming child and he was inspired into rural medicine during a clinical term in Kalgoorlie, a remote Aboriginal community 400 kilometres from Perth in Western Australia. Here, GPs ran the local hospital, doing the obstetrics list and anaesthetics, and really getting to know the local community. From there he returned to New Zealand to pursue rural hospital training.
He is dedicated to improving health equity and was also the first Rural Hospital Medicine graduate of the Division’s training programme.
Closer to home, Dr Webber has been involved in the development of the rural health strategy, which will help to inform the overall strategy being put in place by Te Whatu Ora, Health NZ.
Distinguished Fellowship is awarded to GPs or Rural Hospital Doctors who have demonstrated sustained contributions to general practice, medicine, or the health and wellbeing of the community. This year, five GPs and one rural hospital doctor received this award at GP22: the Conference for General Practice.