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Page content updated 14/10/2019
GCPHN Publication Generally Speaking for Gold Coast general practices

In the September edition

GPs asked to consider hosting medical students in 2020 and beyond

In 2020, local GPs will again have the opportunity to mentor medical students from Bond and Griffith Universities, as part of Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s (GCPHN) clinical placements program.

Dr James Courts, an experienced GP Trainer from Harbourtown Medical Centre, says that one of the benefits of hosting medical students is the mixture of experiences and knowledge they can bring to your practice.

“Medical students come from varied backgrounds and experiences. They are currently at the cutting edge of medical knowledge, with which they can teach us old dogs, new tricks.”

Griffith Yr. 2 student Kiara Reddy & Dr James Courts | Harbourtown Medical Centre

Dr Courts also believes that having medical students in his practice has contributed to more holistic care of his patients.

“Medical students can provide an antidote to burn-out,” he said. “They can stimulate new skills and knowledge, which can facilitate better patient care.”

Dr Nick Lubke from MyHealth Benowa is a Griffith University graduate and started taking medical students this year.

Dr Lubke believes that providing students the opportunity to conduct placement in his practice gives future doctors important insight into the role a GP has in the care of their patients outside of hospital.

“As medical students with predominantly hospital-based clinical exposure transition to junior doctors working in the hospital system, a general practice placement provides them with an important insight into the role a GP has in the care of their patients, before and after a hospital admission.”

Dr Nicholas Lubke & Griffith Yr. 2 student Matisse Fox | Myhealth Benowa

Dr Lubke encourages other GPs who might be considering taking on students, to think of how it will benefit your practice and your patients.

“Hosting medical students is an opportunity to demonstrate to our patients that our medical centre has a focus not only on health care, but also on community engagement.”

“Having a medical student present during consultations provides the opportunity to discuss patient care and treatment options and adds another dimension to patient consultations.”

With student numbers continuing to increase there is a real need for GPs to oversee student placements to support the future workforce.
Commitment from a GP can be as little as three days (one day a week for three weeks), and can increase from there, depending on the level of involvement a GP would like to have.
More information about this opportunity can be found on the Clinical Placements page on HealthyGC or by contacting Peter Northcott on 07 5612 5419 or RSVPs close Friday 27 September 2019.

Dr David Rowlands

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) Board Chair

GCPHN are seeking a non-executive director for their Board of Directors. Board meetings are held monthly (6.30pm - 9.30pm), with additional strategic and/or sub-committee meetings held during the year. The position is a remunerated one, including the ability to salary package and applications close next Monday 9 September 2019 at 9am. Find out more

Read more ...

Dr Kate Shapland

General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) Board Chair

What is GPGC? Why is it here? And what does it do for me? These are questions I have been hearing recently. The simple answer is "we are a member-only independent organisation supporting GPs". 

We are the voice of GPs on the Gold Coast. We no longer receive any government funding, so we are somewhat limited in our activities.  

Read more ...


GCPHN seeking Non-executive Director (Board of Directors)

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) are seeking applications from locally based general practitioners wishing to be considered for appointment as a non-executive director (Board of Directors) of the organisation. Board meetings are held monthly (6.30pm - 9.30pm), with additional strategic and/or sub-committee meetings held during the year. The position is a remunerated one, including the ability to salary package.

Applications close Monday, 9 September 2019 at 9am, AEST. Enquiries should be directed to Mandy Karlin, Board Secretariat at
Find out more

Call for Nominations: General Practice Nurse representation on GCPHN PHCIC

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) is currently seeking nominations to fill the following vacant position for the GCPHN Primary Health Care Improvement Committee (PHCIC).

  • Nurse based in General Practice

The deadline for application submission is: COB Friday, 20 September 2019.

The PHCIC meets bi-monthly, in the evening for two hours dependant on Agenda. Members of GCPHN PHCIC will be remunerated for attendance in line with GCPHN’s Sitting Fees. Find out more


Carl's Corner

Reflections of a Clinical Lead

Transitions of care are like raisins in the sun

Last month I had the privilege of attending the National Medicines Leadership Forum hosted by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists for Australia (SHPA) in Canberra. The main finding of the 2019 ‘Medicine Safety: Take Report’ was shared with us: an estimated quarter of a million Australians are admitted to hospital each year because of medication-related issues. 

The reasons are well-known and summarized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in ‘Medication without harm’ as: polypharmacy, high-risk situations and transitions of care. We now have more than twenty years of literature and recommendations that unequivocally and strongly support improvements in transitions of care. Primary care, general practice clinicians and staff and many hospital colleagues understand this truth intimately.

How much longer then will we have to wait until meaningful improvements are made to ensure all transitions of care and clinical handover are safe and reliable? 

Read more

Gold Coast Health

Recall of textured breast implants and tissue expanders

The Therapeutic Goods Administration removed the Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders from the Australian market after a review found the devices have a small risk of causing Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). All women with Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implants are advised to be aware of BIAALCL symptoms and to perform regular breast self-examinations. Women are advised to consult their doctor if symptoms develop, if any changes are noticed on self-examination, or if they have any concerns. Find out more

Speech Pathology Fluency Outpatient Service

The Gold Coast Health Speech Pathology Department at Robina Hospital offers fluency assessment and treatment for adults who stutter. This includes stuttering of both an acquired and developmental nature. Individual sessions and monthly group treatment sessions are available. There is no financial cost for the service if patients are Medicare eligible. Find out more

Growing team and dedicated clinical space at Gold Coast Health

Gold Coast Health is boosting its commitment to clinical trials across the health service, with a growing team and dedicated clinical space. The dedicated space for clinical trials is purpose-built to accommodate a range of outpatient clinical trial. 

Gold Coast Health: Clinical Challenge Series

Experts will lead a new series of clinically-focused forums on the challenges facing our clinicians. 'Care at the End of Life' Clinical Challenge: How do we develop best care? The event will be held on Wednesday 18 September 2019 at Gold Coast University Hospital. Find out more

Mental Health / Alcohol & Other Drugs

Annual Gold Coast World Suicide Prevention Day Community Forum

GPs are encouraged to stop-by and/or refer their patients to this free community event at Albert Waterways Community Centre, Broadbeach Waters. Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) and Gold Coast Health have recently formed a Suicide Prevention Leadership Group for the Gold Coast to develop a suicide prevention plan for the region and will be in attendance on the day.

We have adopted the LifeSpan framework, an evidence-based, integrated approach to suicide which aims to build a safety net for the community by connecting and coordinating new and existing interventions and programs, and building the capacity of the community to better support people facing a suicide crisis. 

Evidence suggests that capacity building and education for GPs is one of the most promising interventions for reducing suicide. Suicidal people often visit primary care providers in the weeks or days before suicide yet many do not mention their suicidal thoughts to their doctor, or if they do, they often don't receive the care and support they need. One of the LifeSpan strategies is equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress. 
If you would like further information about the LifeSpan framework please contact Sara Dixon from GCPHN on Find out more

Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer screening online toolkit resource for GPs and practices

With funding from the Australian government, Cancer Council Australia recently launched a nationwide mass media campaign to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
Cancer Council Australia have been targeting Australians aged 50–74 and encouraging them to do the at-home test when they receive it in the mail. It’s quite likely that GPs will have received more enquiries from patients about bowel cancer screening and it might also be that your practice would like to do more to support this national initiative.
By visiting the Cancer Council website you will discover several ways that you can support your patients to screen for bowel cancer.

Digital Health

Cyber security alert from Australian Digital Health Agency

The Australian Digital Health Agency has identified a potential issue and released a cyber security alert relating to a Remote Desktop vulnerability which could potentially lead to a infection on a computer and cause significant damage. Find out more

Confirming patient details through HPOS

Introduced on 1 July, Health professionals are now required to confirm patient details through HPOS, the new process is part of their ongoing commitment to patient privacy. These changes now give you real time results to confirm:

  • patient details
  • Medicare card details
  • DVA numbers
  • concessional eligibility.

You can save time, as you don’t need to call to confirm your patient’s details. Find out more

Implementing security practices and policies in your organisation

This checklist can be used as a guide to implementing security practices and policies in your healthcare organisation. It covers the requirements that must be incorporated in a My Health Record system security policy, as outlined in the My Health Records Rule 2016, together with a number of sound privacy and security practices. Find out more

New RACGP ‘My Health Record’ video resources 

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have released a new suite of videos on My Health Record. These videos are designed to assist GPs and practice teams to better understand My Health Record, including the roles and obligations for anybody participating in the system. These videos discuss topics, such as consent, security, medico-legal concerns, practice responsibilities and benefits. 

My Health Record Mental Health Toolkit

On August 8, the Australian Digital Health Agency launched a new My Health Record Mental Health Toolkit. The toolkit was developed to ensure healthcare providers are equipped to assist their patients with clear and specific information to make an informed decision about the benefits of using My Health Record. The toolkit addresses how to reap the benefits of the system, and how to manage patient information securely, sensitively and privately. Find out more


New reminder letters for children and adolescents overdue for vaccination

Following the Australian Government’s recent changes to the childhood and adolescent National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule, including the implementation of an adolescent Meningococcal ACWY program, and the transition of HPV vaccination records into the Australian Immunisation Register the Department of Human Services (DHS) has commenced sending additional reminder letters to individuals overdue for vaccination. Find out more

Meningococcal vaccines in Australia

Following the prominence of cases of meningococcal disease across the country, NCIRS staff developed an update, highlighting the risk factors, incidence and vaccine recommendations. The full article, published in Australian Prescriber, is available here as well as a table outlining meningococcal vaccine 2019 recommendations by age and risk group.


My health for life

My health for life program releases latest program dates

The My health for life program has released their latest program dates available for your patients. The program is free and is for eligible patients who want to improve their health and reduce their risk of developing chronic disease. GPs can access referral templates on HealthyGC (scroll down to prevention) and more information on the program, including upcoming dates and local providers, can be accessed here.

Practices can use the CAT Plus tool to find patients who may be eligible for the My health for life program. To do this, please use theMy health for life recipes’ found on the PenCS website. 

Practice News

Immunisation tip

Updated information for practices accessing and using the AIR – High Importance

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is changing the way your staff access the AIR secure website.  If your staff are not accessing the AIR site or not accessing AIR site using a Q provider number, you should register as a vaccination provider on the AIR now. This will ensure continuous access to the AIR secure website for your staff during the transition to PRODA. Complete the “Application to register as a vaccination provider with the AIR (IM004)” form

If your medical practice registers as a vaccination provider by 30 September 2019, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will issue your practice an authentication file. Your staff can use this to access the AIR site until DHS transitions practices to PRODA in early 2020. You need to complete the IM004 form and mail it to DHS by mid- September 2019 for the registration to be completed by 30 September 2019.  

Gold Coast Public Health Unit, Data Officers are phoning all medical practices to assist with this process. Please feel free to contact the Data Officers on 07 5667 3200 for any enquiries or more information. 

Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement Incentive

PIP QI for General Practice Webinar

PIP QI Tip 1

We have recently added some resources to our PIP QI Incentive webpage to support you in completing CQI projects in your practice. The resources include a generic CQI template and guide, as well as worked examples of CQI projects for smoking status and diabetes. 

PIP QI Tip 2

Primary Sense™ users – Have you seen the new PIP QI Incentive resources added to Primary Sense™ Desktop? These can be found under ‘Templates’ and include CQI templates and some worked examples using Primary Sense™ reports. 

PIP QI Tip 3

Pen CS has just released the CAT4 step by step guides (recipes) for the '10 Improvement Measures' specified in the PIP QI Incentive. Find them here, or on our PIP QI Incentive webpage. This will enable practices using CAT4 to check their patient data in regards to the national improvement measures and to use the reports to inform their quality improvement activities.

In Brief News

Medicine's Four Minute Mile: GPGC and GCMA meeting on 19 September

Join us for dinner and to hear Dr Sam Hazledine speak on Medicine's Four Minute Mile. This event is free for General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) and Gold Coast Medical Association (GCMA) members and junior doctors. For other interested attendees, a subsidised fee of $30 is payable on the night. Find out more

Skin Cancer courses available for GPs looking to expand skills

The Skin Cancer College are offering two foundation courses for GPs: Certificate of Skin Cancer Medicine and Certificate of Dermsocopy during the month of September. Places are limited so book now. Find out more

Connectedness: Bringing Together Art and Medicine

Queensland Doctors’ Health Programme (QDHP) is hosting an art exhibition titled “Connectedness: Bringing Together Art and Medicine.” This exhibition seeks to celebrate the creativity of Queensland’s doctors and medical students, to promote the benefits to wellbeing of engagement in activities beyond the work environment, and to create a space to develop a community around art in medicine. Find out more

ACRRM’s Advanced Life Support course comes to Brisbane

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) run a full day accredited Advanced Life Support (ALS) course to meet the needs of general practitioners in the management of common emergencies in rural practice, and it’s coming to Brisbane on 5 October 2019. Find out more

Research Opportunities

What's on

View all upcoming events 

FEATURED: Bowel Cancer Screening and Cancer Council Queensland Information Night
Thursday 19 September | 6.30pm - 8.30pm

General practice staff are invited to an information session on bowel cancer screening and local cancer support services. A variety of topics will be covered under both bowel cancer and Cancer Council Queensland categories, including local trends, information and support for health professionals and patients and the latest updates from both areas.

Find out more/register
GCPHN Professional Events

Monday 16 September
Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS: The NDIS Access Process
10.30am - 2pm, Robina

Thursday 19 September
Bowel Cancer Screening and Cancer Council Queensland Information Night
6.30pm - 8.30pm, Southport

Wednesday 23 October
The Advance Project: Initiating Advance Care Planning, Palliative and Supportive Care in General Practice (for GPs only)
6pm - 8.30pm, Southport

Click here to see all GCPHN Professional Events


View online - Primary Healthcare Positions Vacant

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Word Count: 75 words     Layout: Dot points
Generally Speaking is a monthly publication produced by Gold Coast Primary Health Network. It is an important resource for general practice, with local information on GP/practice nurse training and education, quality initiatives, referral information, events, job notifications and local Gold Coast health and community programs that can benefit general practitioners and patients.
Level 1, 14 Edgewater Court, Robina Qld 4226  |  PO Box 3576 Robina Town Centre Qld 4230
P:  07 5635 2455  |  F:  07 5635 2466  |  E:  |

Gold Coast Primary Health Network would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Gold Coast and surrounding areas, the Yugambeh, Yuggera and Bundjalung peoples. 

Gold Coast Primary Health Network gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.

While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this material, the information contained in it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided herein.
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