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Popular local doctor Bruce Buckley announces his retirement

By Simon Ruppert

After almost 30 years as a local GP, Bruce Buckley has announced his retirement from the Carrier St Clinic.

Dr Buckley's career in Benalla saw him revolutionise medical record keeping, with the introduction one of the first computerised systems in Australia.

And many who were around during the floods of ‘93 might remember that Dr Buckley was the only GP in town who could get to the hospital - with many others cut off by the rising waters.

Dr Buckley said despite the fact he officially retired in 2018, he had been coaxed back to work, but is now excited about walking away.

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When I asked him what he would miss most about the job he erupted with laughter and said: "I don’t think I’m going to miss the job. I’ve enjoyed it but I’m over it now.”

And after 28 years of caring for the community, who can blame him?

“I’ve been privileged and very satisfied to have been working with the medical establishment here in Benalla,” Dr Buckley said.

“When I took up the role I did hope to settle in Benalla.

“I’d been a solo GP for 15 years out in the bush before that and working with other colleagues was going to suit me better after that much time in the bush.

“You couldn’t find a more professional and cooperative bunch of both nurses and doctors than what I’ve found in Benalla over the past quarter of a century.”

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Dr David Rodgers said it had been a privilege to work with Dr Buckley.

“Bruce is a renaissance doctor in the traditional sense, in terms of doing everything,” Dr Rodgers said.

“He worked in obstetrics, anaesthetics, and addiction medicine, as well as various other fields of medicine.

“He’s always been available. In any emergency Bruce will always come if called.

“The other thing is that one of our other colleagues here, Dr Sarah Hancock, Bruce actually delivered.”

Dr Tony Knight said he recalled Dr Buckley always being ahead of the rest of the country when it came to technology.

“Bruce is the first person I ever saw with a mobile phone,” Dr Knight said.

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“It was one of those huge brick things that you had to carry over your shoulder back in the 1990s.”

Dr Archie Collyer said his most memorable memories of working with Dr Buckley when he first worked at the practice.

“I remember going with Bruce on nursing home rounds in his old Holden Gemini and after that, his old Datsun van,” Dr Collyer said.

“I just loved zooming around with Bruce as an intern, it was a lot of fun.”

With considerably more time on his hands Dr Buckley plans to make the most of his retirement.

“I’ve got hobbies to keep me busy,” Dr Buckley said.

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“I’ve got old motor cars, I’ve got a studio down at NEA now to do my art and I’ll travel a bit.”

Dr Buckley said he was pleased to be leaving the local medical community in good shape.

“I’d just like to say that all I can see from here is the excellent procedural and cooperative medical and nursing establishment, which looks, to my mind, to be heading into the future in the same way it was in the past. And that’s great,” Dr Buckley said.