I have worked most of my life in full time general practice. I started work in a under-privileged area of Melbourne with refugee medicine as well as assisting the local police surgeon and full time on call including procedural general practice. Later, I rebuilt a beautiful little old practice in an over-doctored area in the leafy green suburbs and totally enjoyed my time as a practice owner. I have also worked briefly and memorably in a corporate and am now very happy as a contractor in a wonderful doctor owned and led clinic in Highett. I have seen families change from children to parents and their parents to grandparents which is such a privilege.
I have three wonderful adult children of my own and have remained married to the same man which is something of an achievement these days.
One of my most satisfying adventures is as the co-creator of GPsDownUnder in 2014. Affectionately called GPDU this has become an important forum for GPs from Australia and New Zealand to connect, to share clinical conundrums, advocacy and peer support. I have had the privilege of sharing this journey with over 7500 GPs and have moderated and administered the site for 6 years. There are ten other extraordinary administrators who contribute enormously in that complex job. I am deeply appreciative of their dedication. All of us perform this in a voluntary capacity. We have registered the forum as a not for profit company to provide some stability and protection for the forum which is metaphorically described as a national park. Whilst there have been challenges, the gratifying experience of peer learning and the revelations of contextual experience in different types of practices has been wonderful and enriching to us all. The aspiration to professionalism is inspiring. I feel so grateful to be able to share with my colleagues the coal-face experiences of General Practice.
I am about to finish my PhD on the role of peer connection in Australian General Practice at Monash University which has deepened my appreciation of the depth of vocation that is General Practice.
All along the way I have been involved with the RACGP, firstly as an Family Medicine Program (FMP) GP trainee and attending GP led learning at RACGP headquarters in the evenings of my first GP term. I have been actively engaged in the Women in GP committee and was one of the founding members. The Victorian council co-opted representation is an integral part of that experience. In the last two years I have also served as deputy chair of the Victorian Faculty of the RACGP. All of these are volunteer roles with all of the participants contributing richly to our profession through understanding the complex governance and stakeholder environment of General Practice organisations.
I have been a supporter and a critic of the RACGP activities over the years and indeed GPDU was grown out of my frustration with the communications and needs of the membership that I was trying to reach. I am aware of the wonderful aspects as well as the woeful aspects of a large member-led organisation and believe my rich and diverse experiences including in practice leadership, academic work and organisational leadership will serve me well to continue to argue well for all the members further as their elected President.
Please vote and get everyone else to vote and give a mandate to your President which can’t be ignored. It’s such a crucial time for the entire workforce of General Practice and your College.