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For the welfare of the community

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Family Doctor Week
Queensland – Dr Colin Owen

Described by those who know him as a hero of the bush, Dr Col Owen has been practising medicine in Inglewood, South-West Queensland for half a century. For three years before that, he was practising in the even more remote Charleville.

A Life member of AMA, a founding President of both the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, and a founding Fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Dr Owen is a well-qualified GP at the Inglewood Medical Centre.

“I have been practising here for 50 years and six months,” he said. “I’m getting the hang of it.”

The town of Inglewood has a population of 1200, but the practice has a catchment of 3000-plus because it serves the region and locations around it as well.

“On a quiet day I might see 30 patients and on a busy day it could get up to 60. It depends on the season,” Dr Owen said.

“I have been involved in treating five generations of patients. That’s really amazing, and for me that is pretty special. You really get to know them. And it is important medically, to be involved in the health care of a community and generations of the same families for so long.

“I once did obstetrics, surgery and anaesthetics here and I have delivered many children. I have delivered the children of children I have delivered.

“My last delivery, the mother said to me ‘do you remember delivering me too?’ and I said ‘yes’, but then her husband said ‘you delivered me too’. I didn’t remember that one, but it turns out that I delivered both the mother and the father of the baby I was delivering then.”

Dr Owen knows only too well that being a family doctor in a small regional community, means you are much more than the local GP.

“You have got to be part of the community when you practise medicine in a small place like this,” he said.

“You know what’s going on and you get involved. But you’re not just a part of the community, you have to be a leader in certain areas.

“You have to be an advocate for the health of the community and lead on a number of issues for the community’s welfare.”