Dr Hugh Fairfull-Smith’s contribution to the North Coast community was recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours.

On his retirement last year local GP Dr Andrew Binns wrote of Dr Fairfull-Smith that “it takes a special clinician with a broad range of skills to deal with the complexities and challenges of geriatrics. It involves diverse skills in managing complex chronic diseases, comorbidities, individual psychosocial issues, social determinants of health and family dynamics.”

As the first geriatrician in the area it also involved setting up multiple services for the elderly. Hugh’s first act was to establish the Geriatric Assessment Team. This was followed by a Respite Service, the At-Risk Register,  the Dementia Outreach service and the rehabilitation units at St Vincent’s and subsequently at Coraki and the Ballina hospitals.

At a time when there were no guidelines or procedures to follow Hugh showed great initiative and drive in just “getting the job done”. This spirit is still alive on the North Coast today as shown by the volunteer doctors involved in the recent floods.

NorDocs congratulates Hugh on his award and wishes him and his wife, Cate, well in their retirement.