By Shelby Brooks

A WONTHAGGI doctor who has spent 40 years caring for the community has been honoured at the 2020 Victorian Rural Health Awards.

Dr William Howson of the Wonthaggi Medical Group was awarded a Length of Service award in a virtual ceremony last month.

“It’s a bravery award, I think. Eventually they have to give you something!” he said.

Dr Howson started practising as a general practitioner (GP) in Wonthaggi in 1980 after graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1976.

He said the support from the more experienced practitioners in Wonthaggi when he was younger was instrumental to his career.

It was also in the day when GPs did surgeries and take in-patients, so he built experience in anaesthetics and obstetrics.

Dr Howson, who grew up in Maffra, said his journey into medicine was “boring”.

“My father was a doctor… it’s all I ever wanted to do,” he said.

He knew he wanted to return to the country after studying in Melbourne to be a rural GP.

“I’ve enjoyed country practice,” he said.

“Having a very supportive wife is important in a country practice.

“And Wonthaggi has been a terrific place to raise a family.”

Dr Howson raised three children in Wonthaggi, including a daughter who is now working as a GP in the area.

He currently works two days a week out of the Inverloch office.

And in July, in the busy tourist season in Broome, Dr Howson shares a doctor role with his daughter.

“I’m proud to be a GP in Wonthaggi. A country GP is an important job,” he said.