Although Australian practitioners can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis for a range of conditions, the great majority of patients who feel they might benefit are turning to the black market for their supply.

This disturbing claim was raised at a recent meeting between RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel and the United in Compassion charity whose primary mission is “advocating for patient access to Full Spectrum herbal medicinal Cannabis extracts and dried herb Cannabis; in a manner which is safe, effective, affordable, equitable and favourable for patients, for the dignified relief of suffering.”

Brain Rules for Ageing Well

Brain Rules for Ageing Well

10 principles for staying vital, happy and sharp

John Medina

Scribe 262pp $32.99

Judging from the photo on his media release, NY Times bestselling author Dr John Medina is a cheerful, middle aged chap who has clearly delighted in crafting advice aimed at helping us all - regardless of age - to live well into our advancing years.

An affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine, he has considerable experience in brain research, and knows a thing or ten about how we might stay ‘vital, happy and sharp’ into our later years.

Impressively, he attributes Sir David Attenborough as his mentor.  A glimpse at almost any Australian television station’s current programming will attest to the value of Sir D as a role model, not least because even on the box he seems to enshrine a good many of the principles that Dr Medina describes.

These include never retiring, engaging socially with others, eating sensibly and keeping mobile, sleeping appropriately, being sure to reminisce, and, wait for it, training your brain with video games. A specially designed program, NeuroRacer is highly recommended.

Well known GP Kingsley Pearson (pictured holding award certificate), formerly residing in the Northern Rivers, has been honoured as North Queensland GP of the Year.

The award was made by the North Queensland Primary Health Network at a ceremony held at Gurriny and attended by all staff, the Elders of the community and other community members, and the CEO and Chairperson of the Board of the PHN.

“I feel very lucky that I have been able to work in the arena of indigenous health for the past 11 years,” Kingsley told GP Speak.

“It has not only taken me to some remote and beautiful locations around Australia, but it has introduced me to a whole new group of people, strong in culture, and amazing in spirit, who have huge and complex health needs, that deserve our attention and involvement.”

Kingsley came to Nimbin as a GP in the early 1980s and was there for more than 12 year before setting up the Prema House general practice in Lismore.

In 2007 he started working for Katherine West Health Service at Lajamanu in the Northern Territory. He worked on Elcho Island for two years and then at Yarrabah near Cairns in 2010. This was interspersed with work in the Solomon Islands and the NT.

The University Centre for Rural Health North Coast wants more local GP practices to become involved with providing placements for long-term medical students attached to UCRH for this university year.

“We are looking for more practices and more commitment to undergraduate teaching,” education coordinator Dr Jane Barker said.

Placement programs of varying lengths are offered by three universities, Sydney, Western Sydney and Wollongong.

“A majority of medical students will become GPs and we want them to embrace general practice with enthusiasm as a specialty in itself,” Dr Barker said.

“Those who do not become GPs need a comprehensive and realistic understanding of the breadth of General Practice… which offers the student a wider, holistic perspective on health - continuity of care, of patient centred care, preventative care, care across ages, care across medical disciplines.”

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.