In his 40 years of practice in rural Western Australia, Dr John Gliddon has almost seen it all.
Not many can boast of delivering a baby on a double-decker bus at the Winning Pool Station Races at 2am, for example.
According to Dr Gliddon the parents even named the newborn ‘Winning’.
John’s extraordinary commitment to rural communities, including 30 years in Bunbury in the state’s southwest, was recognised and celebrated at the WA Rural Health Long Service Awards in March.
Coordinated by Rural Health West, Long Service Awards recognise the commitment of 20 years plus to rural health services, often caring for many generations of the same family, and ongoing community involvement.
03 April 2023
No matter where you are
Rural & Remote Australia
Dr John Gliddon
At a time when the challenges of meeting primary health needs (particularly in rural and remote Australia) is in the spotlight, it is appropriate to recognise the commitment of those doctors who make a home and build a career in the regions, providing reliable and ongoing care to their community.
In March 2023, Rural Health West acknowledged the incredible careers of 18 dedicated medical practitioners who had reached milestones of providing medical care in rural communities for 20, 30 and 40 years.
Rural Workforce Agencies across the country recognise the importance of these commitments and are pleased to acknowledge the contribution these medical practitioners make to life in country Australia.
Dr Gliddon began his career at Fremantle Hospital before heading to the UK to expand his studies. Upon returning to Australia in 1982, he and his young family settled in Bunbury and where he has worked for the last 30 years offering full-time general practice with obstetrics and anaesthetics.
Dr Gliddon was one of the founders of the Bunbury Hospice and Palliative Care Service, and has been actively involved in teaching GP Registrars and medical students, supporting the next generation of rural doctors.
As a rural GP, Dr Gliddon said he enjoyed the combination of general practice with hospital work including working with inpatients, anaesthetics, and obstetrics which he did for the last 40 years (briefly interrupted with a year-long stint as a roving locum across remate WA in 2011). The past 10 years has seen him slow down ever so slightly and he is enjoying more sleep and less stress.
John has enjoyed solving difficult diagnostic dilemmas, looking after generations of families, learning from his patients and forming many lifelong friendships. He says working as a rural doctor is a privilege and allows him to look after families from cradle to the grave and develop close-knit relationships with patients.
As John and other rural GPs move towards retirement, Rural Workforce Agencies in each state and territory work with their practices and communities on succession planning strategies and recruitment activities.
With almost one in five GPs indicating an intention to reduce or cease practice in the next 5 years, replacing their experience and expertise presents a significant challenge in the immediate future. Rural Workforce Agencies continue to provide assistance to rural and remote communities to support ongoing access to primary health care.