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Caring doctor honoured

Story credit: Waipa Post, Tuesday 5 May

Dr Mary Ballantyne, from Te Awamutu Medical Centre, has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to women's and children's health.

Mary, and her husband Richard, worked at Waikato Hospital in the late 1970s. Richard became a partner of Te Awamutu Medical Centre in 1979, followed by Mary in 1981.

She established a busy general practice, predominantly caring for women and children. Mary says at that time it was accepted professional practice for doctors to do what they could for their communities.

"The profession was predominantly male, so working with women and children was a natural area where I felt I could make a difference," she says.

Mary is a member of the Australasian Menopause Society and established the Women's Health and Menopause Clinic, with after-hours appointments to improve access for working women and mums.

She says at the time there had been the scare over the use of hormone replacement therapy and women needed help to deal with menopause.

In 2010 she was appointed to co-run a General Practitioner Gynaecological Clinic to address a backlog of clients waiting on routine, minor procedures. 

She was a driving force behind the establishment of the Kihikihi Health Hub, which provides a free GP service for the school, and new initiatives such as dietary and dental advice. 

Mary has been an active member of Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care, as a Police Surgeon covered forensic examinations in Te Awamutu for women subjected to domestic and sexual abuse and was a member of the Child Protection Team for Child Youth and Family, reviewing placements of children uplifted from their families.

She says her colleagues and Te Awamutu Medical Centre has always been, and continues to be, supportive of her initiatives.

Outside her profession, Mary was a representative in the Anglican Synod for the Waikato Diocesan, helped with the Anglican Youth Group and established a Ladies Fellowship meeting group.

Our thanks to the Waipa Post for allowing us to reproduce their story - read the full issue online.

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