Dr Tan with his new award at his Biloela surgery.
Dr Tan with his new award at his Biloela surgery. Vanessa Jarrett

Doctor receives major award

Dr Richard Tan has been awarded for his many years of service to the Biloela community.

Dr Tan attended the David Horn Memorial Dinner in Townsville last Saturday, where he was awarded Legend of the Bush at the Rural Doctors Associations of Queensland conference.

The local GP has been attending the awards for the past 28 years and was announced one of the top 10 Icons in 2015.

This year was the first year that the committee of the conference presented the Legend of the Bush award.

Dr Tan described this award as a nice and humbling experience

He said it was something he never expected to be awarded with.

"It doesn't change anything,” Dr Tan said.

"It's nice to think your peers think that of you.”

To keep adding to the list of achievements, Dr Tan will be celebrating 50 years of practising in 2018.

When moving to Australia from Malaysia, Dr Tan studied at University Queensland.

He began practising as a doctor in Biloela on April Fool's Day 1968 and says that maybe that is telling him something.

Dr Tan found an opening for a GP at the time in Biloela and planned to stay in the town for five years.

He is still in Biloela in 2017, working happily.

"I wouldn't swap Biloela for any other town.”

He says as a general practitioner you don't just see one narrow view.

"You see the whole spectrum,” Dr Tan said.

"People happy with births, sad with death and all the emotions in between.”

Even though he has been in the medical field for a long time, he said he still enjoys it.

"It's a vocation I trained for,” Dr Tan said.

"I do enjoy looking after people and being a GP.”

Dr Tan doesn't believe that he will be retiring any time soon and will keep working until he drops dead.

"I'm only 76, I wouldn't know what to do if I retired,” he said.