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Celebrating the career of a remarkable GP

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On 28th March 2019 Dr Roger Steer, General Practitioner at Emerald Medical Centre, will see his last patient, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious medical career. The profession is sadly losing a real star. A modest man, Roger would most likely rather let this major event pass with no fuss, but it is only fitting that such a distinguished man and career be celebrated & paid tribute to.

Roger Steer has devoted his life to caring for people. He epitomizes the quintessential doctor, mastering all the necessary virtues of this complex role. He possesses a broad repertoire of skills in the profession, which makes him a traditional “generalist” and part of an ever-diminishing cohort in an age of increasing specialism.

Roger has acquired a wealth of knowledge from being a perpetual scholar of medicine as well as from cumulative experiences over many years. Yet beyond this he has good interpersonal skills, with the ability to discretely enquire into and grasp his patients’ psychosocial situation. Couple this with Roger’s integrity and innate placid, modest and empathetic nature, means his bedside manner appears as an effortless art form that is truly inspiring to observe. Another useful skill Roger lays claim to is being handy at minor surgery.

It is little wonder that he is so popular with patients and colleagues alike. Roger’s only fault is the fact that he is just too nice, always putting others’ needs above his own. This is demonstrated in his resolute dedication to his patients, and the fact that clinical colleagues seek him out for advice, realizing that he is more likely to have encountered an unfamiliar situation before, and be able to offer helpful insights.

Roger was born in Eight Mile Plains in Queensland, his parents having met in Canada whilst his father was training as an Air Gunner and Wireless Operator under the Empire Air Training Scheme. The family moved to Victoria in his early life, Roger spending his formative years in Blackburn South. He attended Box Hill High School, then securing a place in the new Medical School at Monash, graduated as a doctor in 1974. He improved his professional skills, initially as a hospital doctor in Melbourne, then travelling to England to gain qualification in Obstetrics. On returning to Victoria he moved into country practice at Donald followed by spending a year as a doctor in Fiji. Roger then worked in South Kingsville, followed by a lengthier stint back in the country at Kerang, then Rushworth. Roger has left roots in the country, as his 3 adult children, and grandchildren remain in the Bendigo/Castlemaine area. At a crossroads in his life, Roger moved to Emerald in 1999 and immediately joined Dr George Somers’ team at Emerald Medical Centre, where he has settled and thrived, immersing himself in this friendly community.

But what of the man, as there is so much more to Roger than being a doctor. He is a quiet and unassuming man, who is instantly recognizable by his trademark flat cap. Roger is a devoted husband to Meredith, whom he married in 2001, as well as father and grandfather. His altruistic nature has led him into such ventures as valuing stamp collections for some who have been under financial pressure.
He is an accomplished musician, playing the piano to a high standard, and combining this with his Christian faith as one of the regular keyboard players at St Mark’s Church in Emerald.

Roger is also an active gardener in his spare time, and has nurtured a fine cottage garden at their property in Emerald. In the tea room at the practice he often captivates us with tales of
immense weekend projects of heavy manual toil, such as single-handedly constructing retaining walls, lugging boulders and digging up tree stumps: activities demonstrating surprising strength for someone of his slender physique. He has drawn on Meredith’s extensive knowledge of plants, bringing along flowers, cuttings and seeds to share with staff.

Since Roger is this year becoming a Septuagenarian, and he wishes to spend more time with Meredith, as well as his family in country Victoria, we must sadly farewell him from Emerald Medical Centre. All his colleagues will miss him dearly, but we wish him happiness in his very well deserved retirement.

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