The French Retreat from Moscow, 1812

As previously noted in these pages a Winter Strategy is a wise precaution for invaders of Russia and health bureaucrats alike.

2017 was the first year of a joint project between the Northern NSW Local Health District and the North Coast Primary Health Network aimed at reducing the number of admissions to hospital over the winter for patients with preventable disease, particularly with the complications of influenza infection.

The strategy involved improving flu vaccination rates in the elderly and improving communication with hospitals, both on admission and discharge. However, the main component of the project was resourcing general practices to take a more active role in managing their sicker patients.

Dr Andrew Binns

GPSpeak has now reached a milestone in the life of any publication – this issue marks the 25th year of our quarterly editions… a ton of magazines in every sense of the word.

In line with changing technologies we have gone from 8-page black and white versions to 32-page colour and online versions today. Publication dates have been timed in accordance with the seasons of the year. Cover designs have ranged from clinical images through infographics to portraits and stunning photos such as Stephen Moore’s picture of the Moon for this issue, and Frank Hurley’s extraordinary shot of Shackleton’s ice-bound vessel in the previous issue.

As the magazine’s unofficial archivist I have saved copies of every issue and occasionally delve into them to look up some historical event within our GP culture. A lot of clinical articles are mixed in with medical politics, opinion pieces and general interest stories.

St Vincent de Paul

The largest clothing recycling centre in regional NSW helps fund St Vincent de Paul’s social works programs.

Story: Robin Osborne Photos: Jacklyn Wagner

Every day around 10 tonnes of discarded clothing and piles of sundry household items are placed in, or less happily beside, Vinnies collections bins throughout the North Coast and other parts of NSW.

First dibs on this mountain of material goes to the Vinnies shop volunteers who sort through the donations and set aside clean, undamaged items for sale in one of the 27 shops between Tweed Heads in the north and Laurieton in the south.

“After some sprucing up these first-quality items go on sale in local Vinnies shops,” according to Angelo Grande, the Society’s Recycling & Waste Management Facilitator for the past 16 years.

“Thanks to the bargain prices they go quickly out the door.”

A small quantity of goods, soiled or damaged, must be sent to landfill, with the remainder being transported to the Vinnies recycling centre in the Lismore suburb of Goonellabah.

Marco Ostini is the Principal Analyst at Pandimensional Infosec, based in Brisbane. He has a particular interest in the information security of smaller medical practices. He can be reached on twitter @Pandimensional_.

Medical practitioners or small business owners should have the date 22 February 2018 in their calendar, for that is when the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme took effect throughout Australia.

What is it, who does it target, how should you prepare and why does it exist? Each of these questions will be answered in this article.

What is the NDB?

Rebekah Hermann

The University of Wollongong this year welcomes Rebekah Hermann to the Rural Medical Program in the role of Clinical Placement Facilitator in the Lismore Hub.

Supporting the Regional Academic Leader Dr Jane Barker, this role  is based out of the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) where Rebekah has worked for the past two and half years undertaking a similar roles in the delivery of rural medical programs to students of Sydney, Western Sydney and Bond University and the University of Newcastle.  

As well as her experience in the health sector, Rebekah brings with her a diverse range of skills from her experience in the education sector where she has worked both as a school teacher in the Northern Rivers, and as a senior project officer for the Queensland Department of Education and Training. Through her project work, Rebekah worked at improving access to quality educational resources for students living in rural and remote areas of the state through digital curriculum content delivery. Rebekah is constantly seeking new ways to achieve connectedness via online platforms and social medial.