Jeff: We have a practice in Mount Beauty, a small Victorian country town. Falls Creek Ski Resort is 40 minutes up the road and we also run the clinic there. Our work at Falls Creek is mainly emergency based — particularly alpine and ski trauma — with broken bones, dislocations and ligament strains, and occasionally major trauma. Because we are so isolated there’s no radiology service so we do all the X-rays ourselves. We all have X-ray licences [a qualification permitting isolated GPs to take X-rays] and that adds a satisfying extra facet to the work. Albury-Wodonga, the nearest regional centre with specialist medical services, is 2.5 hours away, along a windy mountain road that is often icy or covered in snow. When it is closed, we can be completely isolated. With skiing, personally I’m happier cross-country skiing. My ideal is to go out about 6.30am and skate around the high plains and then go to work. I actually prefer skiing uphill than downhill — it’s better exercise and you don’t have to worry about the brakes. I was initially reluctant about receiving the Rural Doctor of the Year 2015 award. I don’t see myself as any different to hundreds of other dedicated rural doctors. I am very fortunate to have the support of my wife, Libby, who is also a rural doctor. I couldn’t do what I do without her.
Libby: We work together as a team with Jeff taking the more procedural role. I’m really proud of his achievements. At the moment, I do the school run to Albury with our three daughters four days a week — that’s over 1000km a week. I work in a practice in Albury, as well as in Mount Beauty. We trained a year apart at the University of Melbourne and we always wanted to work in the country. I live 2km away from my parents — this is where I was born and bred. I’ve got a great horse, and a dressage arena with an amazing view. It’s a very special part of Australia.