At the end of June, after 46-years of dedicated service to the community of East London, Dr John Filmer has hung up his stethoscope to retire.
According to Dr Charmaine Pailman, managing director of Netcare’s Primary Care division which comprises Medicross and Prime Cure operations, Dr Filmer has retired with honour, as the Eastern Cape’s first recipient of the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award, presented by Netcare to practitioners for exceptional contribution to healthcare and the community.
“The award was bestowed upon Dr Filmer for his professional stewardship and the tremendous contribution that he has made to the field of family practice. He is only the second general practitioner to achieve this distinction, with Dr Louis Minders, formally of Medicross Bluff (KZN) having been presented this award towards the end of last year,” said Dr Pailman.
Dr Pailman said that Medicross was privileged that Dr Filmer spent the last 18 years of his professional life practising at Medicross Family Medical and Dental Centre in East London.
In paying tribute to Dr Filmer, she said that he started his career at Cape Town’s Victoria Hospital in Wynberg after completing his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) at the University of Cape Town in 1965.
It was as a young doctor at Victoria Hospital that he became part of the medical team who identified that a patient who had been admitted to the hospital was a compatible donor for the second heart transplant performed in SA in 1967 by the late Professor Christiaan Barnard.
According to Dr Pailman, Dr Filmer held many influential leadership positions during his career, some of which include a tenure as chairman of the Medicross Medical Practitioners’ Association, Eastern Cape regional MPA executive representative, chairman of the GP Sub-Group Medical Association, committee member of the Medical Association Branch Council and managing practitioner of Medicross East London, to mention but a few.
“Because of the incredible leadership role that he has played within the healthcare profession, Dr Filmer was awarded lifetime membership of The South African Medical Association,” added Dr Pailman.
Dr Filmer also played an important role in the field of sport medicine, serving on the 1995 Rugby World Cup Medical Committee and officiating as the match doctor for the World Cup games played in East London. He also served as international doctor at Buffalo Park cricket ground in East London, team doctor for Border Cricket Union; medical representative for both the Border Cricket and Border Rugby unions on their national structures and chairman of the Border Sports Medicine Association from 1996 to 1999.
Dr Filmer was awarded the Rotary Sport Award for his contribution to Border rugby and cricket and is one of the few honorary members of Sports Medicine South Africa.
Dr Filmer was lauded by Netcare and Medicross for his outstanding commitment and invaluable contribution to the profession and to family medical practice in South Africa.
Issued by : Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Medicross and Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Sarah Beswick, Graeme Swinney or Jillian Penaluna
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