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Generally Speaking GP Communique

August 2019

Dr David Rowlands

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) Board Chair

Through the combined efforts of Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) and Gold Coast Health, I am pleased to report that all referral templates for Gold Coast Health have been updated for the next 12 months. Practices can download them from our website at: More than 95 per cent of all referrals received by Gold Coast Health Specialist Outpatient Services are now on templates, improving the quality of clinical information which is vital to improving the quality of care for our patients.

We are also providing a number of information sessions to practices about the PIP QI incentive. If you haven’t already attended one, there are events coming up on August 14 and August 21, which provide updates on how GCPHN can support practices, packages, resources and templates. We have also set up a new webpage that will be regularly updated, with the latest information about the PIPI QI. 

Another professional event for GPs, counsellors and allied health professionals, Screening for Problem Gambling, is being held on August 8, to support clinicians to better detect and help their clients with risky gambling behaviours.

I would also like to highlight the important role that we play as GPs in preventative health, with recent research into breast cancer screening in Queensland indicating a large number of patients identified that it was their GP or health professional that prompted them to book a breast screen appointment. Recently I have also taken part in a media promotion to highlight the importance of completing the free bowel cancer screening kit once patients turn 50. The patient that we featured, credited the test with saving his life – he completed the kit at age 50, and was found to have treatable bowel cancer.

Our practice support team continues to assist clinicians in the use of My Health Record. The Australian Digital Health Agency is holding a webinar on August 28, to demonstrate the intersections of My Health Record throughout the journey of a chronic disease patient, focusing on medicine management and the patient’s team of care providers. 

If local GPs or general practice staff require any support, please contact our Practice Support Help Desk on 07 5612 5408 or email:

Dr Kate Shapland

General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) Board Chair

Doctors looking after Doctors
They do say that a mechanic’s car is always the dodgiest and a painter’s house is always the messiest. Unfortunately the same can be said of doctors. Over the latter part of 2019 GPGC and the Gold Coast medical Association are partnering up to try to create a support network for the physical and mental health of each other.

We are going to launch the initiative with an event (date to be announced) which will promote the wellbeing of doctors.

We are developing:
  • a register of GPs who are willing to see other doctors, we have particularly identified junior hospital doctors struggle to have a regular GP.
  • Support networks tailored to the needs of individual groups of doctors.
  • Education of the usefulness and necessity of all doctors being registered with and utilising the services of a GP.
  • The new closed Facebook group, where local Doctors can feel confident to reachout to other professionals for support and guidance.
I would also like to take the opportunity to highlight a local doctor who will be known to many of you. Dr Chis Del Mar suffered spinal injuries after a surfing accident and because of his age, he is unable to access National Disability Insurance Scheme funding for modifications to his home to allow him to continue to teach and research. For the full story please click here
If you would like to contribute to his fund please click here

Following on from this theme I would like to share a brief story of Dr Lisa Beecham and myself. Last month we spent a week on a self-funded trip to Vanuatu. The majority of the week was spent on Pentecost Island, a remote island where we spent time working in a clinic without electricity, water and only limited food. Not only was it a salutary reminder of the way so many people live their lives, but it was also a fantastic opportunity to take time out from our busy Gold Coast lives and reflect on the opportunities this career gives us. Our plan is to build on the links we made during this trip and offer regular opportunities for doctors to not only offer themselves to do voluntary work in this beautiful, yet incredibly poor country, but also to take the time to reflect on and revive the passion which brought us into this amazing career in the first place.

If you have any questions or comments to share about any of the things outline above, please get in contact and let's keep looking after each other.
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