Dr Sally Gibson (left) and Dr Carmen Jarrett from the NSW Health Ministry’s Youth Health & Wellbeing Team.

After agreeing not to be distracted by the view over nearby Lighthouse Beach - a challenge, given the stunning seascape and the presence of whales, dolphins and surfers -  around 50 young people knuckled down on 22 September to tell the NSW Government about their experiences with local health care.

They were asked not to pull punches, but to regard the proceedings as confidential. On hand to assist the process were two senior officers from the NSW Health Ministry’s Youth Health & Wellbeing Team, Dr Sally Gibson and Dr Carmen Jarrett, with other adults assisting as facilitators and scribes.

While the results are yet to be collated, the view of Northern Rivers GPs seemed positive, judging by comments from 17-year-old Rizal Mahoney who told GP Speak that local doctors listen to their patients, do not ‘rush through’ appointments, and are open-minded about discussing sensitive matters such as sex and drugs.

"the Gene"

The Gene - An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Bodley Head $26.95

When Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published in 1859 all copies were sold on the first day, and, as we learn here, “A torrent of ecstatic reviews appeared almost immediately. Even the earliest readers of Origin were aware of the book’s far-reaching implications.”

A similar response greeted the publication of Professor Mukherjee’s own first work, The Emperor of All Maladies, a history of cancer that would win a Pulitzer Prize for literature. It also became a Ken Burns documentary series (shown on SBS).

L-r, Chris Bedford, Assistant Secretary, Primary Health Networks, Department of Health, award winner Dr Andrew Binns and Dr Vahid Saberi, North Coast PHN chief executive.

The professional and community work undertaken by Northern Rivers GP Andrew Binns has been recognized by the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) in its inaugural North Coast Primary Health Care Excellence Awards.

Dr Binns, described by NCPHN chief excutive Dr Vahid Saberi as “a quiet achiever in the fields of health and the arts”, received an Outstanding Community Service recognition at the awards ceremony held in Coffs Harbour on 9 September.

The same award was given to Minjungbal Elder and health educator Auntie Sue Follent who retired recently after working for the Northern NSW Local Health District for 28 years.

Residents of Feros Care Village no longer have to leave home to speak to their GPs, nor do doctors need to attend the facility for every consultation

An innovative technology partnership between Byron Bay GP practice Bay Medical and Feros Care Village has received high recognition in the North Coast Primary Health Care Excellence Awards.

The awards, run by the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN), were announced in Coffs Harbour on 9 September. The inaugural event was a national first for one of the Commonwealth-backed Primary Health Networks and focused on showcasing the work of GPs, allied health practitioners and community health workers throughout the Tweed to Port Macquarie region.

According to the latest self-rating of our health status, 85 per cent of Australians regard their health to be 'excellent', 'very good' or 'good', with people living longer than ever before and death rates continuing to fall.

However, in the past 12 months, some 19 per cent have a disability, 20 per cent a mental health disorder, and 50 at least one chronic disease. Lifestyle factors are a recurring theme of Australia's health 2016 report the latest two-yearly snapshot issued today (13 Sept) by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report shows that 13 per cent of the adult population smokes daily,18 per cent consume alcohol at risky levels, and 95 per cent do not eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables.