Two rural doctors received QSMs in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours – Dr John McGettigan for services to rural health and Dr Mary Ballantyne for services to women’s and children’s health.
Dr McGettigan has been a General Practitioner for the Methven community for 40 years. Dr Ballantyne became a partner of Te Awamutu Medical Centre in 1981 and established a busy general practice predominantly caring for women and children.
Dr McGettigan began as the sole doctor for the district, working from a small consulting room which was part of his family home. He was the driving force behind the development of a new improved facility in 1985, which now employs five doctors and several nurses and clerical staff plus hosting visiting specialists. The Otago University Medical School uses the Methven Medical Centre for trainee doctors to spend time in a recognised rural medical health hub. For many years he has accepted sixth year trainee doctors in the practice for ongoing education in the area of general rural medicine. The new medical centre has proven to be a key asset for the Methven community following the growth of the town through agriculture, dairying and tourism. He has worked closely with Mt Hutt ski field’s medical facility, offering training and mentoring to staff and assisting in emergencies requiring minor surgery and trauma treatment. Dr McGettigan has earned a reputation locally for his special care to the elderly residents of Methven House rest home, as a strong supporter of local St John, and his work within the Catholic community for the schools and Parish Pastoral Council.
Dr Ballantyne is a member of the Australasian Menopause Society and established the Women’s Health and Menopause Clinic with after-hours appointments to improve access for working women and those with young families. In 2010 she was appointed to co-run a General Practitioner Gynaecological Clinic to address a backlog of clients waiting on routine, minor procedures. She was a driving force in the pilot group behind the establishment of the Kihikihi Health Hub, which provides a free GP service for the decile two primary school. The Health Hub has since introduced other initiatives such as dietary and dental advice. She has been a local representative in the Anglican Synod for the Waikato Diocesan, has helped with the Anglican Youth Group, and established a Ladies Fellowship meeting group. She has been an active member of Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care and as a Police Surgeon covered all forensic examinations in Te Awamutu for women subjected to domestic and sexual abuse. Dr Ballantyne was a member of the Child Protection Team for Child Youth and Family, reviewing placements of children uplifted from their families.