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17 July, 2020

Clinic celebrates 50 years of caring for community

THE Mareeba Medical Clinic has been at the centre of local healthcare for 50 years with many generations of families often seeing the same family doctor.

By Rhys Thomas

THE Mareeba Medical Clinic has been at the centre of local healthcare for 50 years with many generations of families often seeing the same family doctor.

The Mareeba clinic first opened its doors in 1970, after the building itself was commissioned to be constructed in 1969.

Dr Graham Ireland, Dr Bill Madell and Dr Istvan Krinitzky were the three original doctors who operated out of the newly built building and some patients still remember them to this day.

In the early 1990’s Dr Murray Towne and the late Dr Mark Bestmann moved to the building from their joint practice on Byrnes Street.

Dr Ireland stayed in the practice for a number of years after selling it working a session or two a week until he retired in 2000, shortly after Dr Bestmann and Dr Towne took over the practice.

Resident Doctor and owner, Dr Grant Manypeney joined the practice in 1993 and decided to stay and become practice associates with Dr Towne and Dr Bestmann in the same year after experiencing the clinic and the connections with the staff.

The three doctors shared the interest of golf and would often putt in the staff room when they couldn’t visit the local golf club.

Dr Towne left the practice in 2007 and Dr Bestmann and Dr Manypeney continued to operate the practice as associates before Dr Bestmanns passing.

After Dr Bestmann passed away in 2016, Dr Manypeney and his wife Merril became the sole owners of the practice and continue to provide service to the community to this day.

Mrs Manypeney enjoys working at a rural practice be- cause of the connection that is created between the practice and the community and the doctors and their patients.

“It was a true country practice where they did those minor surgeries and they would always go to the hospital to support the staff,” she said.

“As health changes so does the practice to meet the needs of the community we serve.

“Getting to know our patients we tend to think of them as family and we create a much deeper connection with them.”

The term of going to see your ‘family doctor’ stemmed from the deep connection that rural GP’s created with their patients and they often served generations of families.

Both Dr Bestmann and Dr Manypeney were well engrained in the community and their influence can still be felt to this day, from local sports, the local hospital and other health services around the area.

Dr Manypeney assisted at the local boxing matches by being the resident doctor and Dr Bestmann was heavily involved in the local cricket competition, he was the President of the Mareeba Cricket Club for many years and now even has a local inter-school competition named after him, the Dr Mark Bestmann Cup.

Dr Manypeney said that the connections that he creates with patients and their families is what he enjoys most about working in a rural practice.

“We have a special ongoing relationship with a lot of our patients and many of them that I see every day have been my patients for years and years,” he said.

“You know where they live, you know their family, you may have been to their house or even played sport with them.

“There is quite a special close association between the patient and the doctor in this kind of a rural setting.”

Dr Manypeney also reminisced about his late partner and friend Dr Bestmann stating that he was a good doctor and a good friend.

“He just put so much energy into this practice and he was known far and wide as a doctor who was skilled in the mental health side of health,” Dr Manypeney said.

“He would mentor a lot of the junior doctors and would assist with their patients often sitting down for hours at a time to talk to patients.

“Towards the later part of his life he became interested in teaching doctors mental health more formally through the Black Dog Institute.

“We miss his services a lot and we were deeply saddened when he passed and we have tried to do what we can to look after the patients and legacy he left in his wake.”

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