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15 Jul 2019

Family Doctor Week – July 21 to 27      


Dr Michael Bonning – New South Wales   

Since February, Dr Michael Bonning has been part of Balmain Village Health, in Sydney’s inner west.

He loves being a GP. But his career trajectory has been less than typical.

He joined the Royal Australian Navy while at medical school and two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, he was there and saw what medicine can do.

“I wanted to be a part of that,” he says.

“The most interesting thing for me is having the opportunity to do things with my medical training.

“I’ve done some time in border protection; I have done medical work on behalf of NATO in the Middle East; an ANZAC ceremony in Greece; I’ve had all sorts of multicultural experiences in South-East Asia. I got to work with some very interesting people.

“I’m currently also the chief medical officer of an adventure travel company and it raises money for charities. So I’ve been to places like Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, the New York Marathon, Argentina’s Peak of Aconcagua.”

Yet, Dr Bonning says his work in Balmain Village is also extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

“I really like seeing patients. I see about 25 patients a day between 11am and 6.30pm,” he says.

“The challenge in general practice is still about what walks through the door. You don’t know what you’re getting.

“I like medicine because you can work on looking after patients from a preventive point of view – ‘pre-hab’. That’s especially the case for older patients.

“We really understand them. We know their families.

“I had a great relationship with our family GP. He saw I was somewhat interested and really engaged me. For a 12 to 14-year-old kid, that was pretty exciting.

“A really close family friend had a brain tumour and died. But the care he received was incredible. It made an impression on me to see how much we could do for people.”


Published: 15 Jul 2019