Dr James MacMillan-Armstrong is the Southern South Island Representative. He has been a GP in Te Anau since 2011. His Kiwi wife, Sally, lured him to New Zealand in 2010 from the UK where he had done his medical and early post-graduate training at Newcastle University and in the North of England. That was following a BSc in Physiology in Aberdeen in the late 1990s.
They now have two children and multiple animals of various sizes and degrees of affection which keep them occupied during any down time, but they try their hardest to continue to explore the Fiordland and surrounding hills through tramps and high country expeditions.
James has run the Kepler now seven times and he thoroughly enjoys this and other physically demanding runs, treks and challenges, such as running the Dusky Track or expeditions through the Murchison Mountains.
For James, practicing medicine in Fiordland is both challenging and rewarding. There are the demands of medicine in small, rural town New Zealand with a high on-call burden, familiarity with patients both in and out of clinic, distance form base hospital, access to services. But also the pleasure of knowing patients extremely well, providing the best quality care they can offer, striving for a great work environment and forging meaningful relationships with other local service providers. However, like so many rural practices they often feel disadvantaged by their rurality in any number of ways.
Acknowledging these issues James wanted to continue to work towards reducing these barriers to care for the sake of our patients and the sustainability of general practice in New Zealand.