Woodburn GP Dr Chanchal Marik

Long-serving Woodburn GP Dr Chanchal Marik will spend his last working day at his surgery just before Christmas. After serving the local community for 35 years and spending many months trying unsuccessfully to sell his practice, he feels there is no other option than closing the doors, an act he will undertake with sadness.

Vahid Saberi and Dr Dan Ewald presenting to the Senate Select Committee on Health in Lismore.

The Senate Select Committee on Health’s interim report on Australia’s health system has described as a “fallacy” the Abbott government’s claims about the effectiveness of the Medicare system.

The committee, whose members are drawn from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens, is engaged in an Australia-wide series of site visits and hearings, which included Lismore on 15 September

Comments in the interim report released this month are tuned to the nation’s current health debate: “Since coming to power the Abbott Government has repeatedly called into question the sustainability of Medicare … The evidence given to this committee and documented in this report reveals the fallacy of such claims, particularly with regard to GPs and the Medicare Benefits Scheme.”

Mary Tolhurst-Stuart, Allan Griffiin and Neil Chapman, Exercise Physiologist

The importance of physical activity as part of a heart failure treatment plan is well recognised. In the 2011 Update to the National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of chronic heart failure in Australia, it remained a Grade A recommendation. 

“All patients be referred to a specifically designed physical activity program, if available” (Krum et al. 2011).

As the year of 2014 winds down, the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast (UCRH) is celebrating an ‘annus mirabilis’ (year of wonders), having hosted its largest ever number of university clinical students undertaking placements in GP practices, hospitals and clinics throughout the Northern Rivers.

A number of UCRH placement students have graduated at or near the top of their academic programs, and more of them than ever are choosing to return here to take up work opportunities after graduation.

In addition, several major initiatives were launched, and research staff recognised nationally through prestigious grants, scholarships and appointments to high level boards.

"May you live in interesting times." - Chinese curse.

The past 18 months have been a period of imporatnt consolidation for the Northern Rivers General Practice Network (NRGPN). Our focus has been on keeping our members informed of local medical issues through GPSpeak's multiple presences of website, bimonthly online magazine and fortnightly newsletters. In September this year we extended our reach through the first hard copy edition of GPSpeak in two and a half years. This was truly the ‘re-birth’ of a legend, as the magazine had previously been published for nearly two decades, to significant acclaim.  

We believe, and certainly hope, the print version of GPSpeak will  provide a voice for GPs to make known their views on local health matters, not only to other health professionals but to the community at large.