The photo features (L-R): Dr Ian Falson from Ballina, Dr Mark Rikard-Bell from Muswellbrook, Dr Delma Mullins from Muswellbrook,  Dr Neroli Lawrence from South Grafton, Dr Richard Abbott from Scone, Dr Peter Lee from Singleton, Dr Anil Thakur from Maclean and Dr Chris McKenzie from Ballina. Photo provided by NSW RDN

Ballina GPs Ian Falson and Chris McKenzie are among the regionally based doctors to win a prestigious 2018 NSW Rural Medical Service Award. Drs Falson and McKenzie were honoured for their long-standing medical service at the presentation dinner hosted by the NSW Rural Doctors Network in Sydney last week.

The Rural Medical Service Award recognises GPs who have provided 35 years or more of medical service to the people of rural, regional and remote NSW.

Photos (below) of Dr Falson and Dr McKenzie with NSW Rural Doctors Network Chair, Dr John Curnow presenting the awards.


Dr Falson is a GP proceduralist who has clocked up 38 years of medical service for the North Coast communities of Port Macquarie and Ballina. He has worked in the Northern Rivers since 1995, and has a special interest in primary care skin cancer medicine. He is a founding member of the Skin Cancer College of Australasia.

Dr McKenzie has practised at Ballina Family Medical Centre for 35 years. During this time, he has provided VMO services to patients at Ballina District Hospital, working both in the Emergency Department and medical wards.

Photo (above) Dr Chris McKenzie with his daughter Lucy and his wife Merryn on the awards night

Rural Doctors Network CEO Richard Colbran said the pair have each made a significant contribution to their rural community by providing high quality continuity of care.

“It is rare for rural doctors to be formally recognised for the outstanding contribution they make to their community and [to be] acknowledged for the work they do,” he noted.

“This award provides a unique opportunity for the people of Ballina to acknowledge the difference that Dr Falson and Dr McKenzie make to the health and wellbeing of the community.”