General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) Acting Board Chair
The year is drawing to an end – and what a year it has been!
GPGC was fortunate to be able to finish the year off with a face to face members dinner. The venue was delightful, and the team at Bumbles made us all feel very welcome. The sense of gratitude in the room was palpable. The joy of seeing colleagues ‘in person’ was evident, as to was the hope that, despite ongoing challenges, 2021 with be a year of less uncertainty and a reduction in cognitive load.
There are silver linings and with enhanced communication between both GPs and organisations there was a real sense of pride in what was achieved and excitement at what more can be done.
During the dinner I was asked, “what exactly is GPGC?” This is a really good question and something I also wanted to answer here to a wider audience. General Practice Gold Coast, or ‘GPGC’ as it’s more commonly referred to, is an independent, GP-run, not for profit organisation. As our primary care health system transitioned from the days of the divisions of General Practice, to Medicare Locals, and then to the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) we were very fortunate on the Gold Coast and Tweed area to have GPs with foresight and drive to ensure General Practitioners maintained a strong presence at the heart of our local healthcare community, and a voice within our healthcare organisations.
General Practice Gold Coast was formed the following main objective
To improve patient care and health status
Being a broad topic, this is applied to the local area, and broken down into the following;
GPGC is run by local GPs. There is a board of GP directors that are elected every 12 months. All of whom must meet the membership criteria of being a local GP working in traditional general practice.
GPGC is essentially an independent GP organisation (0separate from, and different to, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Medical Association and Gold Coast Primary Health Network), for GPs, by GPs. Such independent GP led organisations are now unfortunately becoming scarcer in Australia. There are ongoing challenges around ensuring the sustainability of such organisations and in the last two years I am aware of at least two similar organisations that have made the difficult decision to cease operating.
GPGC, as an organisation, is however firmly embedded within the Gold Coast and Tweed Healthcare community. We have a board who are excited and motivated by the opportunities that exist. Diversity of thought comes from having GP board members spanning both QLD and NSW, covering practice owners and contractors, and spanning the GP journey through from registrar, to new fellow, to those of us more fondly referred to as ‘older fellows’. It is the conversations that occur with members that really assist in guiding the direction of the organisation.
GPCG plays a key role within our local community. The organisation is frequently asked to comment publicly on health issues relevant to the community. We have lost track of the number of radio, TV and print interviews undertaken; the requests were simply phenomenal. GPGC has been able to amplify messaging and connect more deeply with our communities. Topics covered this year range from COVID-19 to Lyssavirus, to Medicare rebate cuts, and responses to dangerous health messages from ‘influencers.
GPGC continues to advocate for the profession via connecting with local politicians. Opportunities are taken and we have been fortunate to have been given time with both state and federal MPs. Collectively these are the conversations that we need to maintain, the narratives of what’s happening on the ground are so important and hopefully the understanding gained will assist us all when topics are discussed and decisions made. We aren’t always successful but we are always there.
GPGC also holds a ‘seat at the table’ in multiple leadership committees, both at a local and state level. We are able to directly relay the voice of our members and be in the room and contribute to the decision-making process that occurs.
The board are very grateful for the support of all our members. We rely on you all being the eyes and ears on the ground. Your knowledge and feedback are integral in assisting us to provide constructive feedback and to advocate for solutions that take into account the local context. We are very grateful for the ongoing relationships with prior GPGC directors, GPs who have considerable local experience and knowledge.
Facilitation of connection with, and between members, is however our key priority. Just as poor communication impacts on patient care it also impacts on how we as a profession advocate and support each other. The GPGC board recognises the value in doing this better. As we embark on rebuilding our website, and with the focus on improving functionality strengthening our connections with individual GP members, we really want to hear from you.
As always, please reach out and join in our Facebook Discussions.
If you are unsure if you are a member, or you aren’t receiving event invitations or updates via email please reach out and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Kat McLean
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