Albany doctors take out top honours at WA Rural Health awards

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Dr Helen Van Gessel.
Camera IconDr Helen Van Gessel.

Health professionals from Albany brought home top honours at the WA Rural Health Awards on Saturday.

WA Country Health Service clinical excellence director Dr Helen Van Gessel was named the winner in the clinical leadership catego-ry.

Dr Van Gessell was also named the joint recipient of the chairman’s award.

At the peak of COVID-19 restrictions in WA, she was appointed the principal health officer for WACHS across the entire State, developing protocols that ensured the safety of patients, staff and the community.

Emergency physician Dr Stephanie Schlueter claimed the rural researcher and educator award.

Dr Schlueter is the clinical lead in emergency medicine for WACHS.

Based in Albany, she was recognised for her work in the creation of emergency medicine training programs for rural and remote medical practitioners.

Dr Anna Kelly from Albany Health Campus was recognised as the WA Country Health Service intern of the year for her work in the development of the junior medical officers of the Great Southern.

Dr Samantha Weaver from St Luke’s Family Practice in Kojonup was named GP of the year.

She provides healthcare at the town’s two aged-care facilities, as well as the Katanning Hospital’s emergency department.

“While the last 12 months have been challenging for healthcare professionals right across the State, we know country clinicians have been working particularly hard — often managing with smaller cohorts compared to their metropolitan counterparts,” WACHS chief executive Jeff Moffet said.

“At a time where maintaining the health and wellbeing of country communities couldn’t be more important, our rural champions have continued to go above and beyond to provide safe, patient-centred care for those who need it most.”

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