Award winner 2009 - Peter Rischbieth

Dr Peter Rischbieth is an extremely dedicated rural doctor based in Murray Bridge, South Australia.

Dr Rischbieth is RDAA’s immediate past-President, a past-President of the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia (RDASA), is now Vice President of RDASA, and has previously served as RDAA’s representative on the ACRRM Board. He was also a key member of the South Australian Country Health Care Plan Taskforce.

Dr Rischbieth has been a rural GP obstetrician and anaesthetist at Bridge Clinic rural medical practice since 1987. 

He was, for many years, the Principal Medical Officer and Board Member of the Murray Bridge Soldiers MemorialHospital.

Colleagues describe Dr Rischbieth as well-respected and loved by hundreds of patients and families, and say he is now starting to deliver his second generation of local families. He has earned a well-deserved reputation of being available for his patients, the teaching and training of medical students and junior doctors, the media and the numerous organisations he represents.

When he was RDAA President, it was not unusual for Peter to be awake for much of the night delivering a baby at Murray Bridge, then fly to Canberra early the next morning to attend an important meeting around health policy—and all the while know in fine detail the issues being discussed, make a significant contribution to the discussion at hand, and still have a smile on his face at the end of a long day!”

Peter's personable nature and unending willingness to go ‘above and beyond the call’ also has made him highly respected and much-liked by RDAA and ACRRM board-members and staff, and by his colleagues and staff at the Bridge Clinic rural medical practice.

Peter is passionate about rural general practice and is a tireless advocate of the need to provide better access to quality healthcare in rural and remote Australia. He also has been a great advocate for rural medical training and procedural practice.

Willingly and enthusiastically, he takes on a huge workload outside his clinical responsibilities. He is the one you can always rely on to put up his hand to represent the issues of rural health and rural doctors. He devotes hundreds of his own hours to lobbying and campaigning for rural health both at a national level and in his own state of South Australia, and he does so without complaint.

As RDAA President, Peter was closely involved in the development of the proposed Rural Rescue Package produced by RDAA and the AMA, significantly raised the profile of rural health issues during the 2007 federal election campaign and, on the industrial front, oversaw a groundbreaking decision by the ACCC which gave RDAA and the state Rural Doctors Associations the right to collectively negotiate contracts for their rural doctor members who provide services at rural hospitals.

He also attended countless meetings to provide a rural doctor voice on key health policy issues, undertook hundreds of media interviews during his time as President (particularly during the 2007 federal election campaign) and in his own state of South Australia went out all guns blazing last year to protest a proposed State Government plan which would have seen the closure of services at over 40 rural hospitals across the state. 

Indeed, he was a central driving force behind the statewide campaign to convince the SA Government to retract the plan, and he was on the Taskforce then formed by the SA Government to determine how local access to health services for SA’s country communities could be enhanced.

Colleagues describe Peter as being particularly keen to support medical students and trainees on rural clinical placements and, in so doing, encourage them to consider rural practice as a future career path. 

Peter participates actively in Bridge Clinic’s education roster and goes out of his way to give visiting students,interns and registrars the full rural experience—spending extra time with them on weekends, showing them the local jogging routes, inviting them to the deliveries of babies and attending local sporting fixtures.

His knowledge of rural medicine and the wider healthcare environment is extensive and these years of experience shine through when he promotes rural practice.