Visionary leader, highly respected teacher, healer, mentor, tireless advocate and champion of Rural Health, Dr Pat Farry was unmatched in his efforts and contribution to Rural Medicine and General Practice education. His vision of sustainable and quality health services for rural communities and small towns of New Zealand was through education. He devoted much of his career to advocating and lobbying for improvements and funding for rural medicine. The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust was established in March 2010, with the purpose of continuing this legacy. › Continue reading…

A temporary halt on scholarships to be awarded for 2020/2021

The Trustees of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust have announced their decision not to award any scholarships for 2020/21 due to the travel restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s vision is for our work and the experiences that these medical students gain on their international electives to ultimately contribute to the quality of rural health services in all regions of New Zealand,” said Trustee, Mrs Sue Farry.

“Given the current environment with COVID-19, the Trustees do not foresee that there will be any overseas travel for these students within the 2020-2021 timeframe and, as a result, have decided not to award any Travelling Scholarships this year,” said Mrs Farry. 

The vision of the late Pat Farry and the core purpose of the Trust established in his name is to create sustainable and quality health services for rural communities and small towns of New Zealand through education. In the past decade the Trust has awarded 28 scholarships to 6th year medical students most of whom have been enrolled in the Rural  Medical Immersion Programme. The scholarships provide financial support to undertake trainee intern electives in innovative and challenging overseas situations. 

“Since 2011, 28 medical students have benefited from the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s scholarship programme receiving scholarships and grants totalling $105,000,” said Mrs. Farry.

Earlier this year, 2019/2020 Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship recipient Cameron Toogood traveled to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The plan was then to travel to Darwin, Australia.  However, his plans were dashed by travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Cameron subsequently returned to New Zealand and took up a position at Gisborne Hospital. Cameron has documented his experiences via blog on the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s website and Facebook page.

“On behalf of all the Trustees, we wish all this year’s 6th year medical students the best of luck for their final year, electives, and examinations. We look forward to offering the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship in 2021/22,” said Mrs Farry.



Claire Dooney

Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust

Tel: 027 632 0821

Eleven (Afterword): Tūranganui-a-Kiwa

My original plans, to spend a month in Colombo and then travel to Darwin, were dashed by COVID-19. After a few weeks in self isolation and a few more weeks going bonkers attempting to get a new placement signed off locally at the worst possible time for an elective medical student, I was offered a spot with Gisborne Hospital.

Gisborne might just be the most beautiful region in NZ

I hadn’t been to Tairāwhiti before, but I’ve always wanted the chance. For someone keen on rural practice, Gisborne definitely fits the bill, being nearly impossible to pass through by accident. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful region, with a fascinating (and sometimes terrible) history of tangata whēnua heritage and colonial contact with Captain Cook and the settlers. Unfortunately, it is also one of the places most impacted by healthcare inequity in New Zealand. As someone interested in working in this space in the future, I took this as an important learning opportunity and definitely found the experience to develop my understanding of the health inequity we have within our own borders. › Continue reading…

Rural Health Champion

Former University of Otago student and staff member Dr Pat Farry devoted nearly 40 years to providing rural health services and was intimately involved in rural health education for most of that time.

The late Dr Pat Farry: “I came to realise that, in the rural environment, we are always ‘the loss of one GP’ away from a crisis.”

Born and raised in Gore in a proud Lebanese family, Farry graduated from Otago with a medical degree in 1967. Following an initial interest in surgery, he went to Queenstown as a locum GP in 1971 and stayed. After five years, he opened the Queenstown Medical Centre, at the time only the second facility of its kind in New Zealand. His wife Sue, a physiotherapist, worked next door. Farry also served two terms on the Southland District Heath Board in the 1970s.

Farry’s experience as a Queenstown GP – with clinics in Glenorchy and Kingston at the far ends of Lake Wakatipu – fed his passion for rural medicine. He noted that outsiders found it funny that Queenstown was classed as rural, but it was two-and-a-half hours from specialist care and GPs had to deal with emergencies: the couple’s Combi van served as an ambulance, in high demand during the ski season. › Continue reading…

Ten: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

Surely this can't be the last time I see Sri Lanka? There's still so much left to do.

If you’re reading this now, you’ll know that things didn’t go as planned.

Friday passed by in a blur of morbidity meetings, motor vehicle accident patients, and fractures. After work, I got drinks with some of the local and foreign students, and we talked about how COVID-19 was becoming a bigger concern. One of the Australian students mentioned that someone had pointed at him in the street and yelled “Corona!,” which we put down to a bit of hysteria as we’d heard was happening back home too. › Continue reading…

Nine: Cholangiopancreatograph…ological…isation…

Leaded up and discussing the ERCP. Nurses here all wear these classic-style uniforms.

I kicked off the day with an exciting opportunity – today was a scheduled list of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a top Scrabble word well worth memorising. It’s also a highly specialisedway to examine diseases of the pancreas and bile duct using real-time x-rays, fluorescing contrast injections, and a long controllable tubal scope passed from the mouth through down to the stomach and duodenum. This hospital is renowned for its surgical work in these areas, so it was a good chance to see the masters at work. › Continue reading…

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