SHOALHAVEN Heads general practitioner Akbar Ghani has been publicly recognised for dedicating 37 years of medical service to a regional area.
Dr Ghani received the NSW Rural Medical Service Award at the 2013 Rural GPs conference in Sydney last week.
Dr Ghani was humbled by the award, which was presented in front of 250 of his peers during a dinner function.
From the moment he moved to Shoalhaven Heads in 1977 with his wife Janice he was content to live in a regional area, open a practice and raise a family.
“I love this place and the people of the Shoalhaven,” he said.
The higher pay that draws most doctors to the nation’s cities did not have the same attraction for him.
“Big money doesn’t mean anything to me. People would say I am not ambitious but I wanted to raise my family here,” Dr Ghani said.
Those who questioned his ambition could not have been further from the truth.
As well as his GP clinic in Shoalhaven Heads Dr Ghani has completed four master’s degrees in medicine, family medicine, psychiatry and clinical rehabilitation and is a senior lecturer at the University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven Campus Graduate School of Medicine.
“I’m probably one of the only local doctors who has completed four master’s degrees.
“It’s something I do to keep up to date with my knowledge. You don’t want to get rusty in this business.”
Dr Ghani said he enjoyed working with people in the community who consider him a friend and working with people he sees as friends too.
“I was surprised to get the award for this milestone,” he said.
“That 37 years has gone fast but in that time my wife has played a large role.
“Janice deserves equal credit, if not more, for putting up with me.
“I remember years ago we had the car and the kids all packed up ready to go away then the phone rang.
“Well that was the end of that trip and Janice was furious.
“It’s a full-time business and I can understand why GPs burn out.”