Dr Tony Higham recognised for 40 years of service at WA Country Doctor awards

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Dr Tony Higham was recognised for 40 years of service as a GP in the Bunbury region.
Camera IconDr Tony Higham was recognised for 40 years of service as a GP in the Bunbury region.

Semi-retired general practitioner Dr Tony Higham says being empathetic and listening to his patients underpinned his more than 40 years working in the region.

Dr Higham was one of seven Bunbury-based doctors recognised for their long service at the WA Country Doctors’ Awards last month.

Dr Peter Bairstow and Dr David Waycott were each recognised for 30 years of service while Dr Leanne Abas, Dr Sue Chapman, Dr Brenda Murrison and Dr Robert Seton have notched up 20 years of service.

The 72-year-old Dr Higham stepped away from working at the Eaton Medical Centre last year but has more recently started working three days a week at the Wishing Well.

He said he made the move to the region from England in 1978 after advertising himself in a medical journal.

“I got a few answers but the most interesting ones I got were from doctors with similar backgrounds in the United Kingdom to what mine was,” he said.

“At first it was a big upheaval for my wife particularly as she had to leave her family.

“But once we made a few friends that evened out and we just settled down, my wife has three sisters who live in Perth so that made things easier.”

He said he would have delivered about 2000 babies during a 17-year stint at Doctor Foster and Associates medical practice.

“I’m an obstetric grandfather — I could even be an obstetric great-grandfather because I was delivering babies for seven years before coming to Australia,” he said.

Being able to count patients as well as colleagues among some of his good friends is a source of pride for Dr Higham.

“I personally think it’s really important to form those relationships because there is an obvious benefit for the patients to have the continuity of care from someone who knows their background as well as ups and downs,” he said.

“I’ve always believed that if you are empathic and listen to what the patient tells you then they will probably give you the answer as to what is wrong with them.

“If you don’t listen then you won’t get that information.”

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