The contribution to East Grampians Health Service and the wider Ararat community by Dr Graeme Bertuch OAM, is being remembered by the Board and staff following his death this month from Motor Neurone Disease
Dr Bertuch worked in Ararat for 38 years at the Ararat Medical Centre and as a Visiting Medical Officer at East Grampians Health Service, including Willaura Healthcare, where his regular weekly visits provided a service for patients who had difficulty in travelling to Ararat.
A varied career began in 1971 when Dr Bertuch graduated from Monash University. He went on to work in the United Kingdom to obtain further education and qualifications in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology.
Dr Bertuch commenced work in Ararat in 1976, appointed as partner to the Ararat Practice, one of two in the city at that stage.
Determined to work cohesively with colleagues across the health spectrum in Ararat, Dr Bertuch negotiated and achieved the amalgamation of the two medical practices in Ararat, which resulted in the establishment of the Ararat Medical Centre.
During the 1990s Dr Bertuch worked as a locum for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, to gain insight into rural and remote medicine, and later went on to further develop his skills through advanced education and training in anaesthetics, emergency medicine and skin cancer medicine.
“Graeme contributed immeasurably to the health and wellbeing of the Ararat and district communities,” EGHS Chief Executive Nick Bush said.
“He was always a strong advocate for rural communities and for working towards improving the community where he lives and works.
“Graeme achieved this through continually upgrading and broadening his skill base, as well as taking on projects outside of his medical scope of practice that enhanced the community’s wellbeing, including being the driving force behind a community initiative to develop an indoor swimming pool.
“In every aspect of Graeme’s approach to care he ensured that he had the skills and qualifications to care for his diverse communities and helped East Grampians Health Service gain a reputation for innovation, excellence, sustainability and growth through its demonstrated leadership and commitment to improving the health of the community.”
Dr Bertuch received a Life Governorship of East Grampians Health Service in 2001 and in 2014 he was awarded a Health Lifetime Achievement Award.