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Inaugural Chair of RACGP NT revealed


Matt Woodley


27/09/2022 4:27:07 PM

Dr Sam Heard has taken on the role of Interim Chair, saying he will fight for changes to improve patient care.

Dr Sam Heard
Dr Sam Heard has been named the Interim Chair of RACGP Northern Territory.

The RACGP has appointed well-known Northern Territory GP Dr Sam Heard to lead the college’s brand-new NT Faculty.
 
Set up to provide a voice and platform for GPs in the Territory, the development represents the first time in 11 years that the RACGP has developed a new faculty from scratch.
 
RACGP President Adjunct Professor Karen Price says the appointment is ‘great news’ for GPs and patients right across the NT.
 
‘I am thrilled. This is one of the great achievements of this presidency – although long talked about, the NT team and RACGP leadership made this happen,’ she said.   
 
‘I’m sure Sam will do a great job fighting for GPs and general practice teams. He is well known locally for his work educating young doctors and improving access to general practice care for Territorians.’ 
 
Dr Heard said he is honoured to take on the new role.
 
‘I am really pleased that the RACGP is establishing a faculty in the Northern Territory,’ he said. 
 
‘It will enable general practice in the Northern Territory to have a voice nationally and ensure that the important role of GPs in the delivery of comprehensive primary care in the NT is recognised.
 
‘My leadership of this new faculty comes at an important time, with the transition to college-led general practice training happening at the start of next year.’
 
Prior to becoming Chair of the NT Faculty, Dr Heard was recognised for helping to improve communication across healthcare through electronic health record research, while he has also worked as Regional Director of GP Training for the Territory, for which he was awarded the RACGP General Practice supervisor of the year for South Australia and the Northern Territory in 2017.
 
Dr Heard also received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his service to medicine, which Professor Price said came as ‘no surprise’.
 
‘He really is the perfect leader to take charge of this new faculty and advocate for the reforms that will improve general practice care in the NT,’ she said.
 
‘I’m really looking forward to what we can do with the Territory Faculty, and I believe it holds tremendous promise. I look forward to working with Sam in the remaining months of my presidency and wish him all the best in the years ahead.’
 
For his part, Dr Heard is confident that the RACGP will ‘seize this opportunity’ to address existing challenges, such as the maldistribution of GPs across Australia – an issue that is particularly pronounced in rural and remote areas.
 
‘I have a long-held commitment to medicine in the NT and this new role will help me fight for the changes I believe can improve patient care,’ he said.
 
‘I will work hard every day in this role to ensure that patients everywhere in the Territory can access high-quality general practice care when they need it.’
 
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