Page 1002 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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tell the story of Dr Buckingham. A statistic that better demonstrates his role in our community is the estimated 11,000 patients who have been in his care, or maybe his role is better described in patient anecdotes of John squeezing in another appointment at the start or the end of an already long day to talk with a patient about their condition.

Twelve weeks ago John was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While friends and colleagues and workmates and former patients were incredulous and grieving, Dr Buckingham accepted that this was what life had in store for him. Indeed, after the government made a donation to the John Buckingham research prize, Dr Buckingham wrote a very nice letter in appreciation of that donation and in that letter hoped that this prize would encourage ongoing interest in research for junior doctors coming out of medical school.

Dr Buckingham occupied a unique part of the lives of the people who came under his care. He was revered as the scientist and artist who gave so many of them hope and a future after their diagnosis with cancer. But he was also more than that. He was a friend and a confidante who understood their uncertainty and insecurity around their diagnosis but insisted they live life to the full. Many of his patients have contacted me in recent months and many who clearly loved him will be grieving for him today. But they will also be remembering an amazing man, an amazing surgeon and certainly a significant leader in our community, and I extend my sympathy to John’s wife, Sue, and their family.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.44 pm.

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