General Practice North (GPN)
Supporting General Practice in Northern Tasmania
April 2021 Update
Residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) in northern Tasmania are usually cared for by General Practitioners (GPs) who work in practices located nearby. If a patient of a general practice takes up residence in an RACF not covered by their usual practice often a GP working in the practice covering that RACF will be asked (with the patient’s agreement) to take over their care . This system works well for most residents and GPs. It allows GPs to organise regular formal rounds accompanied by the nurse at the RACF and ensures continuity and timely care of residents.
Knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic was drastically affecting RACFs interstate alerted us to the urgent need for GPs in northern Tasmania to join forces to be involved in planning for management of possible COVID-19 outbreaks in RACFs here.
- In August 2020 GPN established the GPN Aged Care Advisory Group (ACAG)
- Dr Donald Rose was elected Chair GPN ACAG
- ACAG is open to all GPs in 0363 area caring for residents in RACFs
- GPN ACAG meetings have been held via Zoom
- GPs are supported by GPN to meet with on-site managers of RACFs and attend interactive webinars
- The GPN ACAG Chair has been able to represent northern GPs re RACF/aged care issues and concerns through the media and on various committees and forums and to keep ACAG members informed with regular updates
The GPN ACAG is continuing to be active in 2021.
- GPN funded online subscriptions to The Women’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Medicines Guide (PBMG) for General Practices in northern Tasmania
- The PBMG is a quick reference guide for healthcare professionals which provides practical and unbiased specialised information on medicine use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. The PBMG is regularly updated and provides access to downloadable fact sheets.
- GPs are able to have the PBMG on the desk top for easy reference to help with the management of women in pregnancy and when breastfeeding
GP Registrar support
- GPN offers support for GP Registrars to attend Family Planning Tasmania Implanon NXT insertion workshops. Implanon NXT is a commonly used long acting reversible contraceptive plastic rod inserted under the skin of the upper arm of a woman providing contraception for up to 3 years before requiring removal (and replacement if so desired). This practical training is essential for GP Registrars as part of the General Practice team.
GP Pregnancy Care
- General Practice North (GPN) co-branded a booth with Primary Health Tasmania (PHT) promoting GP Pregnancy Care at the All About Babies (AAB) event in 2019. It was an opportunity to showcase the GP Pregnancy Care Pregnancy Record (‘the pink book’) which is a resource used by GPs and their patients in northern Tasmania and supported by PHT. Unfortunately the proposed AAB event 2020 did not go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 GPN is pleased to be again cobranding a booth with PHT entitled ‘GP Pregnancy Care’ at the All About Babies event being held on Saturday 18th September 9am-4pm and Sunday 19th September 9am-3pm at the Launceston Convention Centre, Door of Hope, South Launceston. Tickets to the AAB event are available for purchase through Eventbrite or at the door.
- GPs will to be at the ‘GP Pregnancy Care’ booth to answer general questions about GP pregnancy care including preconception checks, early pregnancy investigations and screening, genetic carrier screening, antenatal care, vaccinations in pregnancy, postnatal care and early childhood vaccinations. There will also be various pamphlets and handouts on these topics. There will be no individual medical consultations and nothing for sale at our booth.
Collegiality and communication
- In February 2019 and February 2020 General Practice North (GPN) in collaboration with the Launceston General Hospital Medical Staff Association (LGH MSA) held ‘Connecting the Docs’ events which enabled northern Tasmanian community GPs and GP Registrars to meet with medical practitioners working at the LGH and exchange ideas. These events help with communication between doctors caring for patients in and out of hospital which is ultimately to the benefit of our patients. Although it was not possible to hold planned further ‘Connecting the Docs’ events in mid 2020 or during 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are hoping to restart holding these events in February 2022 when (and if) it is considered safe to do so.
GP North invested in the construction of a purpose built Health Centre at Scottsdale in 2012 to address the lack of primary health services in the local area. GP North has maintained ownership of the premises and has a long term lease in place with Ochre Health.
The income generated from rental payments at Scottsdale is utilised for GP North’s charitable activities