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2019 Southland GP Educational Weekend - Stewart Island

WellSouth PHO with the support of the Southland Faculty of General Practice have just completed another successful “Southland GP CME Education weekend”, this time on beautiful Stewart Island from 03/05 to 05/05/2019. This is a third CME weekend in the scenic South in recent years for Southland. Previous weekends have been held in Te Anau and at Borland Lodge, both in Fiordland.

43 new and frequent flyer GP delegates and partners either flew or ferried across Foveaux Strait on Friday 3rd May where they were wined, dined, educated and entertained locally.  Topics ranged from Travel Medicine to Stroke Thrombosis.  As the Mihi rang out through the conference centre and delegates were welcomed with a hongi, the cultural competency education began.  This year’s cultural focus was on continuous Maori education and Islamic learning for general practice staff and patients with 2 CME points on offer.  

Our expert presenters in their fields included local GPs Dr Robert Bester, Dr Wali Kamali and Dr David Hamilton, Dr Hamish Wilson from Otago Dept. of General Practice and Dr Mohammed Hafetz and Dr Chris Johnson from Southland Hospital and Dr Sue Crengle and Peter Ellison from Maori Health.  11 CME points were on offer along with a wealth of information and education.  Opportunities for Q&A after the presentation and the ability to network with presenters throughout the weekend was welcomed by all. Our many thanks to our wonderful presenters without you it wouldn’t be possible.

Our wonderful delegates and their partners this year were predominantly from Southland and rural Otago but we were very happy to also welcome some from Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington.  This year there was more opportunities and time for networking and some key relationships and longstanding friendships were made.  Support has continued to grow on an annual basis for this boutique education weekend and WellSouth is delighted to continue hosting them.

Stewart Island turned out to be a uniquely beautiful venue for a conference.  Most took the opportunity on Saturday afternoon to explore the environment, with walks, running groups (who went further and faster than planned) a little souvenir shopping or boat trips to Ulva Island to see bird life. Unfortunately, a planned kiwi watching trip was cancelled by the only rain of the visit on Saturday night. Apparently Kiwi’s like us are shy of the rain.  But for those who stayed longer on the Island I believe the Kiwis were not shy on Sunday night.

Saturday morning greeted us with the sunrise of a life time and photo’s to match. As the sun rise changed from fire engine red to brilliant orange to golden yellow, preparations were being made to host the first full days event.  Our fabulous speakers showered our delegates with education, data and thought provoking case based scenarios.  Throughout the weekend the Mexican or Stewart Island wave kept developing and as teams volleyed for extra points with moves which would put John Travolta to shame, those sort after prizes became attainable.  Our special thanks to Mobile Health and EBOS for sponsoring the prizes and congratulations to Kevin Tyree, Tania Phillips, Sam Strachan, Mohammad  Hafetz and Patrick O’Mera who not only reign as the 2019 Quiz champions they also took home those fabulous prizes.

Friday and Saturday night seen our stars of Open Mic shine again. Who knew we had such talent tucked away.  From life stories to sing alongs, our GP talent was on display. Before the final presentation of Saturday evening Dr David Hamilton and Dr James McMillian Armstrong had a wee surprise for our delegates. An emergency CPR scenario. As James clutched his chest and fell to the floor with symptoms emulating a heart attack and acting worthy of an Oscar, “Is there a doctor in the house” rang out. As Bill Grove administered CPR and David Hamilton walked everyone through the procedure, with onlookers providing some helpful and not so helpful advice, you’ll be pleased to know James is well and the scenario was a success.  As for the rest of this fun filled weekend, as the old Stewart Island saying goes, what happens on the island stays on the island.

As the sun set and our lovely MC Scott Arrol brought this successful conference to a close, the organising committee got to discussing what 2020 would look like based on your invaluable feedback and ideas.  The next location will be decided with consultation from Southland GPs. Just to put everybody’s minds at ease, we think the Auckland Islands and the Antarctic are too remote!

 What our delegates said:

  • “Awesome weekend they just keep on getting better”
  • “More of the same, great fun, keep it local”
  • “Range of presenters, opportunity to network & seek support from our colleagues”
  • “Presenters, venue, networking with GP’s, the PHO staff – all great”
  • “Networking, collegiality, location, entertainment, ethnic recognition fantastic. 

WellSouth and the Southland Faculty would like to also thank the organising committee Dr Bill Grove (Riverton), Dr David Hamilton (Fiordland) and Dr Stephen Graham, Cheryl Moeke Workforce Development Advisor and Helen Ramsay Relationship Services Practice Network Manager all of Wellsouth PHO.

Special thanks to the staff of Wellsouth who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, Andrew Swanson-Dobbs CEO, Paul Rowe Practice Network Director, Kate Lewis and Angela Ryley Relationship Services Practice Network Managers.  To our sponsors, The Southland Faculty of FRNZCGP, The Otago Faculty of FRNZCGP, Southlink Health, the Southland Medical Education Trust our special thanks for enabling this event to happen. Our thanks to our prize sponsors EBOS and Mobile Health.  Our special thanks to Habit Food who provided us with 5 star food fit for royalty.

And finally to all the delegates who attended – our special thanks to you, you made the weekend the success that it was. We hope to see you again in 2020.



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