Vale Dr Harry Nespolon
A condolence message from Dr Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health, on the passing of Dr Harry Nespolon.
I join all who knew him, and many who knew only of his work, in mourning the sad loss of Dr Harry Nespolon.
Dr Nespolon was most recently the President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners from July 2018. He also worked as a doctor in general practice for several decades, and was a company director.
He took the RACGP presidency with pride, and with a vision: to support Australia’s GPs as health professionals and small businesses, to deliver the best possible care to their patients.
Over the past two years, he worked tirelessly with the Government to ensure that the general practice sector would be stronger as a result of the long term health reforms.
What he did not envisage was the pandemic, which became the greatest challenge to health our country has seen in one hundred years, and also became the leading item in his legacy.
I was privileged to work with Dr Nespolon as the Australian Government, together with the National Cabinet, searched for the best ways to protect our people from the devastation that COVID-19 could bring—as it did in many countries.
It was a time of extreme pressure. At all times, Dr Nespolon could be relied on to provide advice and proposals that were practical, reasonable and, as it eventuated, effective. His input on the expansion of telehealth and the ability to conduct telephone consultations during the pandemic has been hugely important.
It is immensely sad that Harry has lost his fight with cancer. The consolation is that he was able to continue his work and see the results, almost until the end.
My deepest condolences go to his partner Lindy Van Camp, children Hannah and Ella, and his friends and colleagues.