New Zealand honours former Durban doctor
A FORMER Durban doctor has been honoured by the New Zealand government for his contribution to health.
Dr Gagrath Pradeep “Joe” Singh was awarded the member of New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Health at an investiture ceremony held at Government House in Auckland, where he was presented by the Governor General, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy.
Singh, 67, formerly of Clairwood in Durban and now living in Auckland was selected by the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with the assistance of a cabinet committee of ministers.
“I feel very honoured, and am grateful to the support from my wife Dr Bharati Narothum and our three sons.”
The primary emphasis in determining the award of honours is a person’s service to the community or nation, and on merit and achievement, in whatever field, going beyond the normal requirements of duty or office.
Singh, a specialist in geriatric medicine (medicine of older people) at North Shore Hospital in Auckland, has been involved in teaching and research.
He was made a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) in 1987. In the mid-1990s Singh helped establish and has been the chair since 1999 of the senior medicaladvisory committee (SMAC) of Waitemata District Health Board (DHB). The SMAC has engaged in constructive advocacy around streamlined emergency care and increased bed numbers for North Shore Hospital and has generated support for new models of care that have subsequently been funded and delivered.
Having trained in regional New Zealand, he has used his experience to support local supervisors of trainees outside urban centres. He co-established and has led Shore Trials and Research Unit since 1996.
Under Singh’s voluntary leadership, more than 60 clinical trials have taken place, allowing local patients in the Waitemata DHB area access to new medications and best practice care that would have otherwise not been possible through the health system.
After moving to New Zealand in 1982 Singh started training in geriatric medicine in 1985.
“At that time geriatric medicine as a speciality was in its embryonic stages with only a few specialists in the field. I have been a specialist geriatrician since 1987,” said Singh.
“I enjoy teaching students and registrars (junior doctors in training to be specialists), and have been an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians since 1995 and an examiner for the Australian exams since 2005. I enjoy research and have completed about 60 local and international trials.”
For the past 20 years he has been the chairman of the senior doctors committee at the hospital facilitating communication with management.
“I captain the senior doctors cricket team. We have annual games with general practitioners and senior doctors from other hospitals.”
After matriculating at Sastri College in Durban, Singh studied from 1972 to 1978 at the University of Natal Medical School.
“Our clinical years were at the famous King Edward VIII Hospital , at that time one of the largest hospitals in the southern hemisphere,” said Singh.