Passionate rural health advocate and Ōpōtiki GP awarded top College honour

24 July 2023

Dr Jo Scott-Jones

(Media release: Source RNZCGP.)

Dr Jo Scott-Jones, an Ōpōtiki-based GP and a strong advocate for rural health has been awarded Distinguished Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners at its annual conference (on Saturday 22 July) in Auckland. 

He has worked as a GP in Ōpōtiki, Bay of Plenty since 1992 and is a well-known and respected clinician and engaged teacher to the next generation of GPs and rural hospital doctors. 

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “Dr Scott-Jones is an inspiring and passionate GP, and I have admired his joy of general practice podcasts, which celebrate the joys of our role even when the job can be hard. 

“His focus on equity within general practice, his rural medicine perspective and his teaching of new registrars means he can often see the bigger picture about how the many facets of the workforce can work collaboratively and provide the best patient care in a culturally safe manner.” 

Dr Scott-Jones is a member of rural practice advocacy groups, he served as Chair of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa and has been a member of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) working party on rural practice. 

Since 2016, Dr Scott-Jones has been the clinical director for Pinnacle, where he provides a voice for specialist general practitioners within the leadership team as well as on local, regional and national health organisations. 

This year, five College Fellows received Distinguished Fellowship which is awarded for outstanding service to the College or Division of Rural Hospital Medicine’s work and for making a sustained contribution to general practice, medicine, or the health and wellbeing of the community. 

GP23: the Conference for General Practice was held from 21-23 July in Auckland. 

Several Pinnacle GPs became New Fellows DRHM (Division of Rural Hospital Medicine) of the RNZCGP

Several Pinnacle GPs became New Fellows DRHM (Division of Rural Hospital Medicine) of the RNZCGP. We are pleased to congratulate:

  • Dr Dinesha Kumarawansa – Te Kūiti Medical Centre
  • Dr Bhanu Sivakumar – Ōtorohanga Medical
  • Dr Yu-Ching Yu – CareFirst Taranaki
  • Dr Bart Froyen – NorthCare Pukete and Thomas Roads
  • Dr Thomas Gudsell – NorthCare Pukete and Thomas Roads

Pinnacle also congratulates Dr Claire Russel, a Te Whatu Ora Waikato GP liaison, who received a Community Service Medal. 

Dr Russel is an experienced primary care clinician having worked within both rural and urban practice, as well as urgent care. Strong advocacy for the sector and patients has led Dr Russell into several clinical directorship roles, clinical governance and mentoring. 

She was Clinical Director of Waikato’s COVID-19 directorate helping to lead the pandemic response across the region. She played a significant role in the development and implementation of the primary care component of the “Waikato Way”, a Manaaki-first, equity and whānau-based pandemic response, supporting our priority, rural and diverse populations in a way that suited their needs.  

Dr Russell was a member of the first all-woman crewed racing yacht “Maiden” in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race and her story features in the 2018 documentary, “Maiden”.