The unexpected and untimely death of Queenstown GP, rural health educator and stalwart Dr Pat Farry leaves a huge void in the sector. The enormous contribution and dedication to rural health by Dr Farry has fittingly been recognised through the establishment of an education trust.

Dr Farry died suddenly while working locum duty in Twizel on October 8, 2009. He was 65.

In memory and in recognition of Dr Farry’s dedication, family, friends and colleagues have established The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust to commemorate his achievements and to further develop and maintain his vision.

“Pat made an enormous contribution to rural medical education and it is fair to say that he not only helped in its revival, but possibly in its very survival,” said Trust Chairman John Farry.

“At the funeral of his brother, the late Robert Kennedy said: ‘Most people see things as they are and say; Why? My brother saw things as they could be and said; Why not?’

“My brother Pat Farry held a strong belief in precisely the same principle,” said John Farry.

The Trust will be officially launched at the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Conference in Christchurch this month (March 11th-14th).

The objects of the Trust are to support the sustainability and quality of health services to rural communities by:

  • Supporting the provision of innovative patient-centred rural community-based health education;
  • Utilising real life experiential learning; integrating primary, secondary and tertiary health care;
  • Ensuring high quality inter-professional teaching associated with rural health teaching centres;
  • Encouraging interested undergraduate and post graduate students to pursue a career in rural health practice;
  • Enhancing links between rural general practice, rural hospitals and urban teaching hospitals;
  • Enhancing the development of distance education technologies in health education;
  • Supporting rural academic career opportunities and encouraging both recruitment and retention of rural health professionals.

The other Trustees are Pat’s wife Sue, Dr Stuart Gowland, Dr John Hillock, Dr Branko Sijnja, Dr Kirsty Murrell-McMillan and Michele Wilkie.

Donations to the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust can be made to PO Box 1252, Queenstown or from March 8th via the Trust website.