HONOUR: Dr Ewen McPhee has been selected to be a baton bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
HONOUR: Dr Ewen McPhee has been selected to be a baton bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Contributed

Emerald doctor to carry baton

EMERALD Medical Group GP obstetrician Doctor Ewen McPhee believes in the importance of improving the education and training for young country doctors.

Dr McPhee, who has been named as a 2018 Commonwealth Games baton bearer, said he had recently stepped down as president of the Rural Doctors Association to take on a new job as an associate professor for the University of Queensland, heading up what they call a rural training hub for Central Queensland.

"The rural training hub aims at getting six school students interested in medicine and health careers, trying to get Central Queensland and Central Highlands school students into university and get them trained as doctors, nurses and allied health professionals,” he said.

"What we know is if you get country kids and train them, they are more likely to go back and live and work in the country than people from the city.

"We are looking to increase the number of doctors and health professionals in the Central Highlands.”

Dr McPhee moved to Emerald in 1989 and said he was honoured to be part of the historic baton carrying team as it made its way through regional Queensland before arriving on the Gold Coast for the Opening Ceremony.

"I was really surprised, honoured and grateful that someone had thought of me and I am looking forward to the day,” he said. "I think it will be a lot of fun.

"It really is fantastic that I was chosen to represent Emerald. It's great that we have these opportunities to showcase the Commonwealth Games.

"I think it is an important event; it brings people together and sport is always important for health and fitness.

"I think it will be a fun day and will showcase, not only myself, but what we are trying to achieve with the medical group and with the training of young people getting into health professions.

"I'm looking forward to celebrating this day with a lot of other people.”

Dr McPhee questions why he was chosen.

"I think it's just nice that someone recognises the work that we have done,” he said.

"I am nothing special, I think it's an exciting time and I think it is just nice to be recognised for the work that you have put into the community and I hope that we can keep on living up to people's expectations.”

The letter nominating him as a baton bearer said, "This man will go above and beyond his needs to make sure a person receives the proper treatment. Nothing is ever too hard for Ewen. He is a well-known, well-respected part of our community.”

Dr Mcphee said it was incredibly important that Emerald and other regional towns were being recognised in the Queen's Baton Relay.

"From a health professional's point of view, we know that our country towns are the lifeline of rural Queensland, but they also need to be supported and recognised as important places where good quality health care is delivered, where people can get a good education, and where people in the community can come together and support one another,” he said.

"I think it is important, through things like sport and Commonwealth Games, for others to recognise how important our country people are, we are the backbone of Australia.”

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