Dr Deon Heyns and his wife Ingrid, a local nurse, were farewelled by the Cobar community on Sunday.
The pair will work their last shifts this Friday and attend more farewell functions this week with Cobar Primary Health Care and Cobar Hospital staff before packing up and heading to Port Macquarie on Saturday.
Speaking at their farewell function on Sunday at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club, Dr Heyns said he had very much enjoyed his nine and a half years of working in Cobar.
He credited his long stay in Cobar to Ingrid.
“I’ve never met anyone with a work ethic like Ingrid,” Dr Deon said.
He said she also appreciated the time he needed to devote to his profession, which meant she spent a lot of nights at home alone.
During his almost 10 years of general practice in Cobar, Dr Deon estimated that he would have had 100,000 consultations.
“And that’s not including the ones in the supermarket aisles,” he joked.
He said he saw lots of babies born and sadly, lots of patients die.
Dr Deon was responsible for a number of innovative health programs in the community, was a lead GP in the Integrated Care Pilot program that was introduced in 2015 and helped to bring some oncology services to Cobar.
Dr Deon said he and Ingrid shared the philosophy of “leaving a place better than they found it” and during their stay in Cobar the pair gave a lot of their time to their professional roles but they also contributed much to the community.
Dr Deon was the instigator of the CHAMP program in 2015 which saw the refurbishment of the Cobar Hospital and also took part in the It Takes 2 fundraiser in 2013 that raised $92,000 for the hospital.
Cobar Hospital Auxiliary president Sharon Harland said the pair had contributed a lot to the Cobar community and they both would be sorely missed.