The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is pleased to announce that Mackay GP Dr Kerry Summerscales has been awarded this year’s RACGP Future Leader’s President’s Medal.
Launched in 2017, the RACGP’s Future Leaders program shapes tomorrow’s general practice leaders and helps GPs achieve positive change in their community.
The Future Leader’s President’s Medal recognises a GP who is making a contribution to the RACGP and most likely to continue to contribute to the leadership of the College or as a leader in general practice. It takes into consideration leadership behaviours required in the profession.
RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda today congratulated Dr Summerscales.
“Dr Summerscales is a true leader and worthy winner of this prestigious award,” he said.
“She was selected thanks to her relentless enthusiasm, hard work and vision – all qualities that strong leaders possess.
“Her decades of Army service have been instrumental in shaping her vision for military veteran’s healthcare and she has done some tremendous advocacy work in this complex area.
“Dr Summerscales has also worked hard implementing health strategies to improve the health of the general population so that no patients are left behind.
“I am glad that she took part in the RACGP’s Future Leaders Program and I fully expect to hear more about Dr Summerscales in years to come. I suspect she will become a successful public figure fighting for improvements in primary care.”
Dr Summerscales said that she was humbled to accept the award.
“Winning this award means a lot to me, particularly since there are so many inspiring leaders in general practice,” she said.
“I spent many years in the Army so I have a special insight into veterans’ healthcare and I am drawing on this experience to push for positive change.
“We want our veterans to open up and seek healthcare when needed and I am fighting for a culture of accessibility and a comprehensive veteran’s health program in Australia.
“I have also worked closely with the head of RACGP Rural, Dr Michael Clements, to put together an innovative training program for GPs to help them care for veterans.
“It basically takes all the technical and complex information on the Department of Veterans Affairs website and makes it accessible for general practice. As the clinical lead I designed the curriculum and education materials and Michael I present the education package together.
“We were able to deliver the program face to face in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay as well as online presentations nationally to GPs, practice nurses and managers.
“Michael and I try to make the presentations as down to earth as possible and inject a bit of banter to make people feel at ease. I am from the Army and Michael is RAAF so we playfully poke a bit of fun at each other.
“The goal is to improve care for veterans in our communities by educating clinicians on things like clinical work, billings and the entitlements that are available. The response from all who have taken part has been really encouraging.
“That is what leadership is all about. Identifying where improvements can be made and working diligently to effect reforms by bringing people along with you.
“I think we have a long way to go but I believe that we can transform how we take care of our veterans and significantly enhance their health outcomes during service and in the years that follow. Thank you to the RACGP for this award, it is a great honour.”
The RACGP Awards recognise the value of GPs in our community, celebrating the achievements of exceptional individuals such as Dr Summerscales who go above and beyond to care for their patients.