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RDAQ president Dr Konrad Kangru

Congratulations to Dr Konrad Kangru the new RDAQ President!

Leadership of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland will reside in the north of the State for the next two years after office-bearers for 2017-18 were confirmed at the organisation’s AGM in Townsville this morning.

Leading RDAQ for the next 12 months will be Proserpine GP Dr Konrad Kangru, who replaces the now immediate past president, Dr Michael Rice, Beaudesert.

Understudying Dr Kangru in preparation for his turn at the helm in 2018-19 will be Dr Neil Beaton, a senior medical officer at Atherton and Mareeba hospitals.

Dr Kangru said he took the reins at a time when RDAQ was in a position of unprecedented strength, with memberships growing and a sound balance sheet to match.

“With 2300 doctors now working across regional, rural and remote Queensland, our focus as an organisation is to maintain and grow that base in line with the needs of rural Queenslanders, but also put our energy into lifting the quality of care we provide to ever higher levels,” he said.

“RDAQ will be driving hard to ensure that every doctor working in a rural location has access to training programs to increase their skills if they choose. Just because they work rurally doesn’t mean they should face barriers to professional and clinical development.

“We’re very proud of the gains RDAQ has made to get more doctors into rural Queensland via the Rural Generalist pathway, but now we want them to feel even more connected and to know that while they work in some isolated communities, they are not isolated in terms of the support our organisation can provide.”
Outgoing president Dr Michael Rice told members in his annual report that he was reminded of the strength of RDAQ every time he arrived for work.

Reflecting on his decision to accept the role of RDAQ president 12 months ago, Dr Rice said he was confident in commending the role to any doctor who aspired to leadership.
“I have learned a great deal, expanded my professional networks, contributed to useful reforms and seen my local community hospital get so busy I can’t get a car park anymore,” he said.

“It’s growth that never would have happened if not for the work of this Association in driving the re-opening of our maternity unit back in 2013.” Dr Kangru, who is married with two young children and is one of nine doctors at Whitsunday Doctor Service, a clinic of two practices at Proserpine and Airlie Beach, is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at James Cook University and a clinical examiner with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Originally from Melbourne, Dr Kangru studied an undergraduate degree in applied science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW before relocating to Brisbane to study medicine at the University of Queensland.

Graduating in 2000, he was at Toowoomba Hospital until 2003 and Mount Isa until 2005, with short stints at Richmond before planting solid roots in Proserpine 12 years ago.

Dr Beaton came to Australia as a doctor from the UK in 1984 for one year’s work and a ‘rural adventure’.

“I’ve been here ever since and joined RDAQ in 1990 one year after it was formed,” he said.

“I’ve always believed strongly in the work that it does, not only improving the conditions for rural doctors but the health of the patients they care for. I have extensive experience as a clinician, trainer and senior executive manager within the complex health system and look forward to my next 12 months as a support to Konrad and preparing for my time as president from this time next year.”