Cherished doctors farewelled


IT would be an understatement to say doctors Tim and Joy Linton have been assets to South Gippsland.

Each contributed 20 years of service to Leongatha Healthcare, and they will be sorely missed by their colleagues, patients and residents as they move to Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory to work in indigenous health.

Mr Linton is a GP and obstetrician, while Mrs Linton worked as a GP and in palliative care.

The two esteemed doctors are leaving on July 9, flying to meet their son Andy in Nhulunbuy and start work at the health service there.

Andy has been working as a doctor in Nhulunbuy for two and a half years, where he resides with his wife Catherine (daughter of Leongatha’s Dr Graham and Sue Toohill) and three daughters.  

“When Andy wrote in February proposing we move to work up there we didn’t really take it seriously. But he pushed us a bit and we figured it would be a chance to be in the same place as the girls,” Mr Linton said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to be in the same place as the grandkids; that’s a big pull in that direction.”

The Lintons are no strangers to adventure, having travelled to work in Nepal to work in areas with few medical services.

“We learnt to speak the language when we were in Nepal and we recognised what a difference that can make,” Mrs Linton said.

Once in the Northern Territory, Mrs Linton will study a language course to learn the native language.

“Hopefully I can pass it on to Tim, as he will be working fulltime,” Mrs Linton explained.

“There will be plenty to keep us busy,” Mr Linton says, noting 160 births occur every year at the Nhulunbuy hospital.

While excited by the prospect of adventure and being close to their family, the Linton are wary of the transition of crossing cultures in the Northern Territory and how that will impact on their relationships with patients.

“The kind of relationship we have with our patients probably won’t happen to the same degree up north, so we’re going to miss that connection. It’s kind of different because we are crossing a culture,” Mrs Linton said.

Mr and Mrs Linton have built strong relationships with their patients over the years and they sat it has been difficult to say goodbye.

“People have worked out how they do life and part of that is who they see as a doctor, and I think we underestimated the significance of that. There have been some tears and it’s been very challenging and affirming at the same time,” Mr Linton said.

Aside from saying goodbye to patients, the couple said it would be difficult to leave the community of Leongatha.

“We’d like the people in Leongatha to know how much we’ve appreciated their welcome, love and support over the years,” Mr Linton said, noting he will miss his friends at the South Gippsland Yacht Club.

“We’ve really enjoying being part of life here. We’re leaving with mixed feelings; it’s exciting but it’s sad to say goodbye,” Mrs Linton said.

The clinic held a farewell function for the Lintons last week.

 Caring for the community: doctors Joy and Tim Linton at Leongatha Healthcare, where they have cared for locals for the past 20 years. They will travel to the Northern Territory this month.

Caring for the community: doctors Joy and Tim Linton at Leongatha Healthcare, where they have cared for locals for the past 20 years. They will travel to the Northern Territory this month.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=15370

Posted by on Jun 30 2015. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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