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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2011) . . Page.. 1280 ..


is a better chance that the cancer has not progressed beyond its site of origin. Thanks to Dr Buckingham’s pioneering work in this field, Calvary hospital became among the very first hospitals in Australia to undertake sentinel node biopsy.

Dr Buckingham was involved in the establishment of BreastScreen ACT, the local arm of a national screening program that aims to reduce breast cancer deaths through early detection before symptoms appear. Early detection has proved to be one of the great and life-saving advances of modern medicine. We know from research and experience that two-yearly screening of women aged between 50 and 70 can reduce deaths from breast cancer. More than half of the cancers detected through the breast screen program are small-diameter cancers, improving the chances of successful treatment and recovery and giving patients greater treatment options. John Buckingham was the designated surgeon for this wonderful and life-saving service from 1992.

The service he rendered the community where he chose to make his home was recognised in 2009, when he was named a local hero in the Australian of the Year Awards, and again in 2010, when Dr Buckingham was named the ACT’s Senior Australian of the Year for 2010, both signal honours bestowed as part of the Australian of the Year awards program.

In recent years Dr Buckingham was actively involved in teaching students from the ANU Medical School as part of the third-year surgical rotations at Calvary hospital. He was also involved in clinical-pathological correlation sessions with staff from ACT Pathology.

Earlier this year he was conferred with the title of Associate Professor by the ANU. At the same time a foundation fund was established by his colleagues which will perpetuate Dr Buckingham’s memory through a prize awarded to the ANU medical student responsible for the most outstanding research achievement. The ACT government was pleased to be able to contribute $10,000 to that prize and hopes that a new generation of doctors will be inspired by the prize and by Dr Buckingham’s memory to strive for excellence and advancement.

Over the years Dr Buckingham also lent his expertise to the teaching of medical students based at Calvary hospital, as well as to the professional development of resident staff, surgical registrars, nurses and community groups such as Bosom Buddies.

He was not a doctor who insisted upon maintaining an intellectual or professional superiority to, or distance from, those around him. He was collegiate, a mentor to those rising through the ranks, and, to his peers, a colleague among equals. And for all of these, as well as for his patients, he was an inspiration.

In the final decade of his life, Dr Buckingham was as actively involved in research and publication as in any other period of his career. Over the course of his career, his research generated an impressive 22 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 14 abstracts and countless presentations at scientific congresses, two of which won awards.


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