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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

September 25, 2013

Generalist doctor appointed to West Coast DHB

The West Coast’s new generalist doctor, Brendan Marshall, doesn’t hesitate when asked who inspires him. “Chester Wilson is a rural GP in a town called Charleville in Western Queensland where my mother grew up and my grandparents still live,” he says. “He has been the only person providing continuous care there for the last 35 years and he still does it with a smile on his face.”

WCDHB's new General Practitioner and Hospital Generalist Brendan Marshall
Dr Brendan Marshall

Brendan is the West Coast DHB’s new General Practitioner and Hospital Generalist - a new position that involves working in general practice, ED, anaesthetics and supporting paediatrics and orthopaedics after hours.

“I was starting to look for a job in New Zealand just at the time the West Coast DHB was starting to recruit for generalist positions,” he says. “I’m looking forward to developing this model of care here. What I’m doing is really the ‘new old’ in that years ago most doctors had these skills. For a location such as the Coast I believe this role will be part of a workforce that can provide a safe, sustainable model of healthcare.”

Brendan trained in medicine at the University of Queensland in Australia and subsequently completed postgraduate rural and remote training while working in western and far northern Queensland. He says the towns are small, and while the core service is general practice, the doctor has to provide primary through to secondary care. In the course of a day this could involve seeing someone with a cold right through to doing acute obstetrics, dealing with a trauma in ED or giving an anaesthetic. “You’re it, you have to do everything,” he says.

Practicing rural and remote medicine is the culmination of a seed planted in his imagination when he was just 15 years old. “I grew up in a farming community of around 10,000 people and one day attended a work shop where a rural GP talked about what he did but also about the shortage of rural doctors.” While the workshop had quite an impact on Brendan, it wasn’t his initial career choice. “I started doing a law degree that evolved into a science degree and then finally completed a postgraduate medicine qualification,” he says.

The challenge of finding rural doctors isn’t unique to the Coast or a recent phenomenon. “Twenty years ago at that workshop I went to, they were talking about the shortage of rural doctors,” he says. “Research shows that it’s always one of the big issues in rural health, how to recruit and then keep staff.”

He says the disadvantage of remote medicine is the isolation. “That meant my homesick Kiwi wife was ready for a move back to New Zealand after the birth of our first child.”

Brendan says he and his wife, and their three year old daughter, are still finding their feet but have been impressed with the welcome. They even had whitebait delivered to their door on their first night in town. “It has rained a lot of the time but when the sun shines there is no place more spectacular, so we’re looking forward to more of that!”



For more information please contact:

Erin Jamieson

Communications Team

m: 021 743 237

t: 03 769 7400

Corporate - West Coast District Health Board | Grey Base Hospital, PO Box 387, Greymouth 7840

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