23 April 2024

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is common with one in three women subjected to DFV worldwide. However, there are significant barriers to help-seeking by survivors, and identification of DFV by health providers.

The RACGP is holding the Overcoming barriers for addressing domestic and family violence (DFV) webinar to give participants an understanding of the barriers faced by both survivors and health practitioners, and how these may be overcome.

The webinar, on Tuesday, 7 May from 12.30pm to 1.15pm, will also outline the expectations survivors have from health practitioners and a model for health practitioners’ readiness to address DFV.

Register for webinar

The Safer Families Centre has developed a clinical audit CPD activity for GPs on Intimate Partner Violence Identification (IPV) and initial response which complements the Overcoming barriers for addressing domestic and family violence webinar.

The activity aims to provide a better understanding of IPV and how to identify and ask patients about it.

GPs will also strengthen their capacity to identify barriers to asking about IPV and how to overcome those barriers. The activity also attracts up to 10 RACGP CPD hours for GPs.

Download audit activity/template

02 April 2024

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, will be among the keynote speakers at the next Sydney South West GP Link Breaking Down the Silos event at Rydges Campbelltown, on Tuesday, 30 April, from 6pm to 9pm.

GPs and non-GP specialists are invited to the next in the series of networking dinner meetings, which will focus on Poverty and the Socioeconomic Determinants of Health.

Other keynote speakers will include:

  • South Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Sonia Marshall
  • Macarthur MP and paediatrician, Dr Mike Freelander MP
  • GP and Chair of the RACGP Specific Interest Group, Dr Tim Senior
  • RACGP NSW and ACT Chair Rebekah Hoffman
  • NSW Ministry of Health, Office of the Chief Health Officer, Senior Medical Advisors, Dr Jan Fizzell / Dr Sarah Khanlari

There is no cost to attend.

Find out more/register
02 April 2024

Health professionals are advised medicines and herbal supplements containing the herb Withania somnifera may cause adverse events in some people.

This includes sudden and potentially severe gastrointestinal symptoms in some people and, in very rare cases, may be associated with liver injury.

When treating patients who are presenting with symptoms of liver injury, you should consider whether a complementary medicine could be involved.

Use of medicines or herbal supplements containing Withania somnifera should be avoided in patients with existing or previous liver pathologies.

Find out more
22 January 2024

The Statewide Intellectual Disability Mental Health Outreach Service is providing education and training sessions for health professionals to improve their confidence, clinical knowledge and expertise in providing mental healthcare to people with an intellectual disability.

The ECHO program offers practical advice and clinical teaching, using a combination of brief lecture-based presentations and participant-led case discussions, with opportunities for participants to present their own clinical cases and receive specialist team feedback.

Weekly sessions are held via Zoom.

Registrations are open for the next two series.

Find out more/register

15 January 2024

The Medical Costs Finder can help your patients who need to see a private health specialist.

At the point of referral, the Medical Costs Finder website can help patients:

  • find the typical costs for common private health treatments in different locations across Australia
  • understand and plan for the costs of private treatment early in the journey
  • access tips to confidently discuss medical costs with a specialist

Read this guide for GPs when making referrals to medical specialists to help your patients make better informed decisions.

Find out more about the Medical Costs Finder.

Patient resources:

31 October 2023

Healthcare providers play a vital role in road and public passenger safety by assessing the fitness to drive of bus drivers.

Transport for NSW has provided guidance for healthcare providers following changes to the way bus driver applications are processed and assessed.

All Bus Driver Authority applicants must pass a commercial medical fitness exam before they can submit their application.  

Patients seeking to become a bus driver must be assessed at the ‘commercial’ medical standard under the Assessing Fitness to Drive (Austroads) guidelines.

When completing a bus driver medical assessment online, it is critical for the patient that you select ‘commercial’ standard drop down, and tick the radio box ‘Is this medical for the purpose of driving a public passenger vehicle’

Please submit Fitness to Drive forms online via your practice management software or a secure web platform.  

This provides an improved experience for patients as they receive a real-time assessment response (in-person or via telehealth).  

Visit the NSW Government website for more information on the online Fitness to Drive medical assessment. 

24 October 2023

“A Churchill Fellowship offers Australian citizens a life-changing opportunity to travel overseas for four to eight weeks to learn more about a topic or issue that they are passionate about.”

Dr Tim Senior (pictured above), a GP at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Campbelltown, has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to and study general practice in deprived areas in the United Kingdom for two months.

He is confident the information he will bring back has the potential to improve primary care in disadvantaged Australian communities.

“The Fellowship will be highly relevant as many of the challenges and joys encountered by GPs in deprived communities in the UK are the same as those encountered in South Western Sydney,” Dr Senior said.

His trip will focus on Deep End GP networks in Scotland, Ireland and England, where GPs serve the most disadvantaged communities. GPs at the Deep End work collectively, sharing learning on projects involving advocacy, service development, research/evidence, and professional development.

“Each group has developed from the ground up in their local communities and developed different ideas I want to learn from,” Dr Senior said.

“Some groups focus on how GPs can be supported, some on advocacy about policy in working in areas of poverty, some groups are involved in GP research networks, and some have done some interesting work in specific GP registrar training for working in deprived communities.

“The GPs at the Deep End groups have the most advanced thinking and action in tackling these problems from a GP perspective, rather than a public health perspective. It’s this range of ideas and experiences that can change what we do in Australia.”

Dr Senior said he first encountered the work of the GPs at the Deep End in 2011.

“What struck me was how similar their work was to my work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Obviously, there were differences … however, much of the work was also influenced by poverty.”

Dr Senior said his career in general practice, including 18 years at Tharawal, had always involved working in low-income communities.

“I’m proud of being a GP, and very much aware of the importance of primary care – patient-centred, accessible to all, coordinated, multidisciplinary and life-long – for population health and the health of communities. GPs are experts in patient-centred care, multimorbidity, complexity, early diagnosis and in understanding local context.”

“It’s important everyone has access to this type of care, and those who need this care most and have the most to benefit, are those who can least afford to pay for it,” he said.

Dr Senior said one of the things he hoped to learn through his Fellowship was if local Deep End GP groups would be useful in Australia.

“I imagine they would provide methods of peer support, though I think they would look very different in Australia to the UK because of the interaction with rural and remote health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia,” he said.

“We’ve set up a specific interest group in poverty and health at the RACGP, which may function as a national network – RACGP members can join this right now.”

Dr Senior said his Fellowship experiences would inform his work through the RACGP and at Tharawal.

“I’ll also be writing about my experiences and what I learn – and producing a report for the Churchill Trust, which will be freely available. I’m also very happy to speak to people formally and informally, to help them implement any areas they are interested in locally,” he said.

Dr Senior’s passion and drive to assist the disadvantaged comes, in no small part, from his own background.

His GP training was in Sheffield, England, working in deprived communities after the collapse of the mining and steel-working industry in the 1980s.

“I’ve been fortunate in the opportunities I’ve had, though my parents and grandparents came from Methodist Yorkshire working-class families that struggled for money – but always had a social conscience,” he said.

“I’ve been very influenced by that upbringing, feeling that I should use my skills where they are most needed.”

Dr Senior is a member of Asthma Australia’s Professional Advisory Council.

Besides his role at Tharawal, he is also a clinical senior lecturer at Western Sydney University and the Medical Advisor of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. He also founded the Environmental Impacts in General Practice network in the RACGP NFSI.   

07 July 2023

The Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs, NSW Ministry of Health, is seeking GPs to participate in paid online focus groups about GP engagement with the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP).

The OPT provides life-saving treatment to people living with opioid dependence. The aim of these focus groups is to gather a diverse range of perspectives from GPs who have had experience or are interested in engaging with the OTP.

Eligibility

If you are…

  • A GP primarily working in general practice, AND
  • Have an interest in the OTP, OR
  • You are already prescribing OTP medication for up to five patients

the centre wants to hear from you!

How to Register

The centre will be conducting four, one-hour, online focus groups at the times listed below:

  • 6pm, Monday, 17 July
  • 7.30pm, Tuesday, 18 July
  • 7.30am, Thursday, 20 July
  • 12pm, Friday 21 July

Click here to register. You will then receive a calendar invitation confirming your attendance.

Payment

GPs who participate will be paid at the rate of $120 for the hour. Participation is limited to one focus group per person.

Confidentiality

Please note: participation in the focus groups is confidential, and all data collected will be anonymised and used solely for research purposes.

For more information about this project, contact Kristina.Gavrilovic@health.nsw.gov.au

 

 

24 April 2023

Syphilis is on the rise in NSW, so a GP’s role in preventing, diagnosing, and treating STIs and HIV among your patients has never been as important.

New Education

New STI and HIV care online education for GPs, will help:

  • Recognise opportunities to routinely offer STI and HIV testing 
  • Assess patients’ risk of an STI and HIV
  • Conduct testing for STIs and HIV in-line with current guidelines
  • Undertake follow-up and contact tracing after a STI diagnosis

This CPD accredited education was developed by NSW Health and is free for GPs.

Other Resources

You can also tune in to this RACGP podcast, to hear experienced GPs, specialists and patients discuss tips and resources to comfortably talk sex, STIs and blood-borne viruses. 

With increased syphilis cases diagnosed among the NSW general population, the new ASHM interactive syphilis decision making tool quickly guides you through the testing and treatment process, and includes specific advice for treating pregnant women and people.

The NSW Sexual Health Info Link is available to provide support, advice and referral to you and your patients.

27 February 2023

Baked goods from grateful patients is one of the perks of being a GP in Bowral, according to Highlands General Practice’s Dr Harshinie Jayamanna. Dr Jayamanna’s particular interests are paediatric and palliative care. She is also an accredited Antenatal Shared Care provider.

How long have you been a GP and how long have you been practising in the Southern Highlands/Bowral LGA?

I’ve been a GP for four-and-a-half years, and in the Southern Highlands for the same amount of time, including three-and-a-half years at Highlands General Practice in Bowral. I now also work at Schwarz Family Practice in Elderslie.

When/why did you decide you wanted to become a GP?

I had always wanted to do obstetrics and gynaecology, but changed to anaesthesiology, which I did for 13 years back home in Sri Lanka.

But when you see a patient in hospital, you’re always saying ‘follow up with your GP’ and you never see them again. GPs are able to provide more comprehensive care. The patients come to their GP, and you are able to coordinate their care. As a GP, you get to know the person and what’s happening around them, you see whole families.

I like antenatal care. I see mothers and babies for things like vaccinations. Many of my first patients are four years old now. It’s amazing to see.

Being a GP is so community focused, you make connections with people and feel like you are doing something positive for them, that you can save a life. I liked hospital work as well, but as a GP you provide broader care and look after the whole person,

What do you love most about being a GP/what part of the job gives you the most satisfaction?

Seeing patients getting better, especially children – you know when they’re better, they’re really better, they can’t pretend to be ill.

I like paediatrics most, I feel very comfortable looking after children and delivering things like vaccines. I also like to provide chronic care. I’d say my main interests are paediatrics and palliative care.

I also enjoy engaging with lots of different people.

Bowral is a very special community, everyone knows everyone. You link in well with the hospital and the specialists are very helpful – they are just one call away with advice if you are stuck with something.

I’ve been with Schwarz Family Practice since December and it’s also a lovely place to work.

The whole team is friendly and helpful, and it’s easy to work when everyone agrees with the current Australian recommendations, especially when it comes to prescribing medications (S8).

What is the most important thing you/your practice contributes to this community?

Chronic disease management is well co-ordinated at our practice. We have a special nurse specifically for chronic disease management. It’s very comprehensive, so we won’t miss anything.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my children.

I like cooking and entertaining guests. I like reading, cycling with my children when with the weather permits, and I love to travel, not that I’ve done that during the last three years.

What do you love most about Southern Highlands/Bowral?

The area! The community is very friendly.

There’s an older population here, although that’s changing now because people are moving into rural areas like Bowral because of COVID and I’m getting to see lots of new families.

I especially like caring for the older population of Bowral, they’re really lovely and do things like baking for us all the time and sending cards.

I’ve found Schwartz to be a similar practice.

What advice do you give your patients about maintaining good health?

Eat healthy and exercise.

I say to young people, avoid dangerous, risky activities. Things like vaping. We have lots of young people coming in who don’t know how to stop.

I also say talk to your GP, especially about things like your mental health, we are always here to help.