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Generally Speaking GP Communique

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

In 2020, local GPs will again have the opportunity to mentor students from Bond and Griffith Universities, as part of Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s (GCPHN) clinical placements program. Students having this hands-on experience is a critical part of their development in becoming a GP and can be extremely rewarding for both the GP and the student involved.

General practice engagement is highly-valued by the universities and students, GPs are supported as supervisors, and I strongly encourage you to consider this opportunity. More information about this can be found at or by contacting Peter Northcott on 07 5612 5419 or

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 the My health for life recipes’ found on the PenCS website.

September plays to a number of important causes including World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), World Heart Day (29 September) and Women’s Health Week (2-6 September). GCPHN will have a stall at the free World Suicide Prevention Day event in Broadbeach Waters to inform and collect feedback about the Regional Plans. You can find out more about this event, which is being hosted by the Care for Life Suicide Prevention Network, on their website.

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. Despite having no income, we are managing to arrange events at reasonable cost venues and with relevant sponsors. We had some feedback for our last networking event that they would have attended if it had been at the Casino, and if child care was offered, so I hope that explains some of our constraints.

The history is that the original Gold Coast Division of GPs was set up in 1994 to support practices. This was a small organisation that eventually received a large amount of government funding  to supply services to general practices, and thus support our local community. Over the years the government funding was re allocated via the Medicare Locals, and finally the Primary Health Networks (PHNs). During this process most local Divisions of General Practice were not able to survive as separate organisations and some joined in with the PHNs, whilst some disbanded.

GPGC survived and are now in the fortunate position of being able to support GPs’ independent of any KPIs and funding. 

Our Vision Statement is  ‘Healthy General Practice, Healthy Gold Coast’. In the past we have been responsible for supporting the whole of General Practice, and hence our patients. As the PHNs remit is very much covering the community and general practice support, we are changing to focus much more on general practitioners.

We are fortunate that we have an excellent relationship with our PHN and co -host many events.

Our five GPs on the Board are myself, Leanne Carr- Brown, KK Cheung, Katrina MaClean and Sonu Haikerwall, who has recently replaced Simon Thatcher. We are aiming to have a Registrar representative next year. Our three contracted staff have all been with us for over 20 years; through all the above changes. We have Elaine Crawt , Diann Jones and Trish McDonald. Trish and Diann also work for the PHN, thus aiding our collaboration with GCPHN.

We aim to have our new website live by next month, and it is free for all GPs on the Gold Coast to join.

We have been advocating for GPs to care for themselves. So it is timely that our next event is a with our specialist collegues at Gold Coast Medical Association (GCMA). The focus for our September meeting is wellbeing and peer support through connection. Dr Sam Hazledine is a powerful advocate for practitioner wellbeing, and petitioned successfully for the Declaration of Geneva (modern day Hippocratic Oath). Join us for dinner and to hear Sam speak on Medicine's Four Minute Mile. It is free for GCMA and GPGC members and junior doctors. For other interested attendees, a subsidised fee of $30 is payable on the night. Find out more

Also, please join our closed facebook group for local GP conversations.
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