Featured Doctor


New Zealand : Rural Family Doctor

Dr Joseph “Jo” Scott-Jones was attracted to medicine as a career because his Dad was a nurse and as a child Jo would help share out chocolates left by grateful patients amongst the ward staff, the combination of helping people and chocolate was irresistible.

He is one of the leaders of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice and is married to a teacher - they have five children and two Yorkshire terriers.

What is Jo's current work?

Jo has worked as a GP in Opotiki, a small rural town in New Zealand, since 1992. Having been brought up in Liverpool, England he always saw himself as GP in high needs inner city practice.

Rural New Zealand proved to have a population with similar challenging medical and social needs, as well as an opportunity to utilise all of the medical and surgical skills he had attained in his training. A six month “tiki tour” has become a lifelong commitment.

What other interesting things is Jo involved in?

Jo is the inaugural chairperson of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – a “peak” organisation seeking the common ground between health provider, business and community organisations with an interest in the health and wellbeing of rural communities.

He is a member of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners rural faculty and chairperson of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network. The Network is a unique organisation that provides and equal platform for nurses and doctors involved in rural health to support the development of rural general practice.

Jo has been a passionate advocate for the extended role of nurses within the practice team, his Masters degree focussed on the development of “standing orders” for use in general practice.

Jo sits on the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice (WWPRP) executive with a particular role around social media, he is responsible for implementing the WWPRP’s “Rural Heros” project

He is also a keen teacher and helps coordinate an inter-professional programme with a focus on Maori, and rural health. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of General Practice at Auckland University.

Interests outside medicine?

Jo does a lot of writing, with monthly articles and podcasts for the NZ Doctor magazine, and he is the presenter of a regular Rural Health Podcast hosted by New Zealand’s Mobile Health Solutions organisation. He is regular “tweeter” about rural health issues @opotikigp.

He finds time to take part in the local musical theatre group and in this role has been a village idiot, murderer, thief, rapist, undertaker, pirate and impresario. He keeps fit by cycling and walking the dogs.

Philosophy of care?

Jo’s practice aims to provide patient care based on best available evidence, in a culturally safe manner with a focus on Minimally Disruptive Medicine.