Tony and Doffy call it a day
Monday, 7th February, 2011
Tony and Doffy White are making their last outback trip after 16 years of offering skin treatment to isolated patients.
Dr White is a dermatology specialist and his wife Doffy is a dermatology nurse. The couple have spent one week each year flying to remote locations and outback stations with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
This week clinics were planned at Menindee, Tibooburra, Tilpa, Ivanhoe, Marripina and Monolon but some were cancelled due to floods coming down from Queensland.
"This is the first time that has happened in 16 years," Dr White said.
In previous years, Dr and Mrs White have travelled to rural areas to diagnose and treat skin issues such as cancer, sun damage and rashes, and provide education on disease prevention.
"People in the bush, particularly those who work outdoors, are generally better at skin cancer prevention than the people we treat at our Sydney surgery," Dr White said.
"But while they may be good at wearing their hats and long sleeves to prevent sunburn, they have less opportunity to see a dermatologist which means skin disease can sometimes go undetected or untreated."
Mrs White said it was important to get the message across to cover up, which wasn't always easy.
While Tony and Doffy will soon step down from their positions, the program will continue with a new dermatologist next year.
"Someone will take over next year to keep the service going," Dr White said.
Dr White said people were often unaware that the RFDS did more than pick up people in emergencies but they often said how grateful they are of the service.
"The RFDS provides a regular GP service and a specialist service," he said.
Dr White said he retired before Christmas and is planning, along with his wife, to go back to university.
"There is a lot of living to be done after work ... (I am) going back to university (and I've) got grandpa duties," he said.
"It is going to be lots of fun," said Mrs White.
RFDS South Eastern Section Executive Director, Clyde Thomson, praised the work of Dr and Mrs White over the past 16 years.