Same-sex marriage and the role of the GP College

Doctor's bag

Same sex marriage

During my medical training in Amsterdam I witnessed many of the effects of the Dutch liberal policies such as the legalised practice of euthanasia and their model on cannabis. The Netherlands was also the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage over 15 years ago.

When it comes to same-sex marriage I support this. Not so much because of health reasons but simply because I believe it is fair.

I acknowledge that LGBTIQ communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning) have had a lot to endure. I also respect that there will be people who disagree with me and may have other opinions.

In Australia we now have the odd situation of the voluntary Australian Marriage Law Postal Vote, where we are asked to vote on the question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? 

The RACGP position

The postal vote has created healthy…

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Health of the Nation: good and bad news according to Australia’s GPs 

Doctor's bag

Health of the Nation RACGP

Australia’s GPs believe that mental health is the number one emerging health concern, often related to co-existing chronic health conditions – but more is needed to keep Australians well.

This is one of the conclusions presented in the benchmark report General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017 which gives a unique overview of the general practice sector.

The report is based on various sources, including research commissioned by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the MABEL (Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life) Survey.

Some of the key messages from the report:

  1. Mental health is today’s biggest health problem and will continue to be an issue in the future
  2. The GP is the most accessible health professional and should be utilised to keep Australia well
  3. Patient out-of-pocket expenses in general practice are increasing and present a barrier to patients accessing the required care

The bad news

GPs…

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New study shows high parental confidence in GPs, but researchers draw bizarre conclusions

Researchers draw their own conclusions – what was the agenda, what was the audience

Doctor's bag

High confidence in GPs

A new national study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health shows that around ninety percent of parents are mostly or completely confident in GPs to provide general care to their children.

This is of course good news.

The findings also show that 93% of the parents participating in the study reported that they would take their child to see a GP in the event of a minor illness, instead of visiting the emergency department – which is exactly what everyone wants.

Therefore I was surprised to read the conclusion from the authors, a group of mainly academic paediatric researchers, that “confidence with GPs is an issue for parents of many walks of life” which could potentially lead to “greater numbers of ED presentations for children with lower urgency conditions.”

Sorry? The results of the study clearly show that only 2% of parents were not very confident in…

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Promising breakthrough: dramatic miracle cure offers hope to victims

Doctor's bag

Miracle cures don't exist

The problem with headlines about medical breakthroughs and miracle cures is that they never live up to the expectations. On the other hand, the breakthroughs happening every day in primary care do not attract much media attention.

Seventeen years ago medical journalist professor Schwitzer published the seven words you shouldn’t use in medical news: ‘promise’, ‘breakthrough’, ‘dramatic’, ‘miracle’, ‘cure’, ‘hope’ and ‘victim’. Has Schwitzer’s taboo list made an impact?

Words you shouldn't use in medical news Source: Twitter

Not really. A quick Google search shows that the same words are still used to celebrate ‘heroic medicine’ – often surgical interventions, new drugs or medical technologies. Scientific progress and developments are important but not always easily translated to every day care for every day Australians. They are never ‘miracle cures’.

At the same time we see an ongoing increase in spending on hospital treatments and little investment in keeping Australians healthy and out of hospital. The breakthroughs in primary care…

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A weekend of firsts in Japan

ruralgpdotnet

Kudos to Manabu Saito for the many firsts in his Rural Generalist Workshop supported by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. In a move that is new to Japan Dr Saito ran a workshop for six Vanguard Rural Generalists of the Japanese Rural Generalist Program, with Specialists in Anaesthetics, Obstetrics, Surgery, Cardiology, Orthopaedics and Radiology, running sessions on clinical skill building and exposure to cross discipline knowledge.

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Medical knowledge was coupled with feedback and performance improvement, another first for the Registrars as their supervisors gave them personal feedback not only in medical knowledge but also their evolving use of the English language with the very excellent Jasmine Millman.

Jasmine is a Dietician, English teacher and Ph.D. Student living on Okinawa researching gut microbial biomes as a possible key to the longevity of Japanese people’s lives. It was a pleasure to meet another Australian passionately supporting the…

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Bion’s Theory of Assumptive Cultures

Some fundamental work on group dynamics

Group Dynamics

Group psychotherapists often discuss the work of W. R. Bion, who offered up a host of insights into groups and their processes in his writings, but particularly in his book Experiences in Groups, which was published by Tavistock in 1959 but then circulated much more widely in 1961 (when printed by Basic Books).  Bion was a classically trained psychoanalyst, who with his colleague John Rickman used groups as part of treatment program carried out during World War II at a Northfield Military Hospital. The treatment they implemented there was radical for times, but includes the basic principles found in most group-level approaches to change—flattened status structures, development of a therapeutic milieu, focus on the group and its dynamics (the “here and now” perspective) rather than on events external to the group, and the development of trust and openness.

Those experiences in the group apparently puzzled Bion considerably, and he spent…

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For the Doers of Deeds

No truer words Edwin

Doctor's bag

the man in the arena

A wise quote, one of my favourites, for all decision makers, leaders and ‘doers of deeds’:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Image: Gladiator (2000 film), Dreamworks.

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