Self-portrait of a person with schizophrenia, representing that individual's perception of the distorted experience of reality in the disorder.

For some time there has been talk of Northern NSW Local Health District Community Health (CMH) sharing the care of patients who require depot antipsychotic medication with GPs. This was to be aimed at the more mentally stable mental health patients. Some guidelines were discussed but never implemented.

Meanwhile, GPs have reported numerous instances of patients saying they no longer attend CMH and were therefore presenting for depot injections or for ongoing care including oral antipsychotic drug prescriptions.

Along with this service provision including a mental health assessment, appropriate mental and physical care is needed. Handover of responsibility has frequently occurred without a formal case history and management plan for their ongoing care being sent.


An in-depth study of the lived experiences of students of health professions undertaking non-metropolitan placements has shown they rate highly the benefits of supportive staff and good interactions with local communities.

Factors impacting negatively on them included difficulties with accommodation, Internet access issues, the lack of transport and financial problems.

The study, Ruralization of students’ horizons: insights into Australian health professional students’ rural and remote placements, was conducted by researchers from various university Centres and Departments of Rural Health, including UCRH North Coast (Dr Sabrina Pit).

Cannabis leaf

Perhaps helped by a late-December name change from the frivolous PUF Ventures to the more medical sounding Solaris Nutraceuticals*, the company that intends to grow and produce medical grade cannabis in a 9.3 hectare glasshouse operation in Casino has received a $2.5 million Federal grant.. 

The huge score was announced by the Federal MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, as part of a raft of grants for nine job-creating projects - Solaris claims 280 jobs will eventuate. These cover such disparate industries as blueberry growing for export, macadamia processing to make nut-based cheese, and expanded aged care in Kyogle.

A report on the company’s plans was published in the previous edition of GP Speak (Summer 2017). This followed Richmond Valley Council’s open-armed welcome and undertaking to enter into a ‘strategic partnership’ with the business whose home base is Vancouver, Canada.

Building a community for those with a common interest is often a difficult task. David Guest reports on a, perhaps unlikely, community to have made great progress in this area.

Linus Torvalds may not be well known as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs but his computer operating system, Linux, runs the majority of computers in the world.

Linus has a reputation for being “grumpy”, as can be seen from the following sample of his better known quotes.

  • My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god.
  • Those that can, do. Those that can't, complain.
  • Talk is cheap. Show me the code.
  • Microsoft isn't evil, they just make really crappy operating systems.
  • I'm basically a very lazy person who likes to get credit for things other people actually do.
  • I'm a bastard. I have absolutely no clue why people can ever think otherwise. Yet they do. People think I'm a nice guy, and the fact is that I'm a scheming, conniving bastard who doesn't care for any hurt feelings or lost hours of work, if it just results in what I consider to be a better system. And I'm not just saying that. I'm really not a very nice person. I can say "I don't care" with a straight face, and really mean it.

This article was first published by Dr Jane Barker, NRGPN Board member, on the website To Medicine with Love.

Last week I met up with a newly graduated medical student whom I had mentored during his training. He had missed the award ceremony for his medical degree for personal reasons. When we met, without prior discussion, we both produced from our pockets a copy of the “Physician’s Pledge”, the newest version of the Hippocratic Oath, having independently decided that the time was right to read it together.

We walked up to the Byron Bay lighthouse and together stood on the hang-gliding platform, looking out over the stunning view from Tallows Beach to Broken Head, and together read the pledge: “I solemnly pledge to dedicate my life to the service of humanity” … he, ready to launch into his career, me coming towards the end of mine; a handing over of the baton, as it were. I reflected on the words, what they had meant in my life and asked myself whether I had upheld them.

It was a special moment.