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Anaesthetist celebrates 35 years of service with Peninsula Health

Dr John Copland has performed tens of thousands of anaesthetics during his 35 years working at Peninsula Health.

But its patient care and teaching – not numbers – that the long-serving staff member hangs his hat on.

“The patient always comes first – they need to be treated with consideration, dignity and skill. I always try and give patients a feeling of confidence that they will be well looked after,” says Dr Copland.

“There are plenty of people who can give a safe anaesthetic, but being an effective teacher is really important to me. The older I get, the more I realise that is how you can make a difference, so teaching has become a bigger and bigger part of my professional life.”

Dr Copland was recognised for his significant contribution to the health service at the Peninsula Health Long Service Awards this month.

“I’ve been really blessed working in a place like this – really nice people and close to home.” says Dr Copland.

“I’ve always enjoyed the collegiate, friendly atmosphere and the very high standards of the Anaesthetic Department.”

A career as an anaesthetist wasn’t always on the cards for Dr Copland.

“My father was a solo GP and I imagined I would end up being a country GP somewhere in Victoria so I thought I should have some experience in obstetrics and anaesthetics,” recalls Dr Copland.

“I started first with anaesthetics and I never left.”

Dr Copland has seen the hospital grow and change a lot over his 35 years.

“Fewer and fewer patients now have to leave the Peninsula and go to city hospitals because they can’t get treated here – that was much more common 20, 30 years ago.” Dr Copland says.

“So we’ve developed all sorts of specialties we never had back then.”

Dr Copland was one of those involved in setting up the Anaesthetic Department almost 25 years ago and was Clinical Director of Anaesthetics from 2007-2012. He’s proud of how the Anaesthetics Department has grown and developed over that time.

When he’s not at the hospital, you’ll find Dr Copland sailing, travelling or on his hobby farm in Gippsland.

Married to a psychologist with two sons and two grandchildren, he has no plans for retirement yet.

“I’m in the twilight of my career, but I have no plans for stepping back. I do enjoy it and I feel like I’m making a contribution.”

Congratulations Dr Copland on a long and distinguished career with Peninsula Health.


Jessica Mills