Jeff Green | Oct 06, 2005
Feature Article - October 6, 2005
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Feature ArticleOctober 6, 2005
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Dr. Peter Bell named Family Physician of the year
by Jeff Green
Although Dr. Peter Bell has been toiling away at the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre for 34 years, this year has been a special one.
In early April it was announced that the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre would be among the first wave of medical facilities that will designated as Family Health Teams, which will allow the Centre to expand its services for the surrounding communities. Planning for the expansion is ongoing, but more mental health services, diabetes-related services and others should be available in the next year or so, and the Medical Centre might see some physical expansion as well.
Around the same time as the Family Health Team Announcement was made, Dr. Bell was also informed that the Ontario College of Family Physicians had named him as the recipient of their Family Physician of the Year Award for the Eastern Region.
He received the award formally on September 30 in a presentation that was attended by Ms. Jan Kasperski, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the College, and Dr. Walter Rossier, the Department chair of the Family Medicine Faculty at Queen’s University.
When informed about the award, Dr. Bell responded to the College in writing. He talked of coming to Sharbot Lake from London 34 years ago, opening a modest clinic in a trailer, and beginning his rural practice. Initially he was seen as a transplant, both by himself and the community.
“But, he wrote, “finally you come to see the community as someone looking not from outside in but from the inside and as part of it. This relationship develops from the day by day, month by month, year by year participation in the joys and tragedies of our patients’ lives until eventually we are not just participants but part of their lives and the community.”
Another aspect of Dr. Bell’s practice that was recognised both in the award and in the family health team designation has been its collaborative nature.
Saying he hoped the award is partly in recognition of the strong team approach in Sharbot Lake, Dr. Bell made note not only of the doctors and nurse practitioner in Sharbot Lake, but the family medicine residents he works with as well. He also mentioned “very strong links to a huge network of other community-based providers and services” that have developed over the past 34 years.
Comparing running a family practice to running a marathon, he talked of the time in a marathon when the runner hits the wall and pushing through and getting second wind.
There have been many changes in family medicine and in rural medicine over the past 34 years, and the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre has been part of those developments.
“I am humbled and touched by this award,” Peter Bell wrote in concluding his response to the College of Family Practitioners. “Thank you for your recognition. I hope that I am worthy of it.”