Despite a massive suicide bombing in its capital Ankara, an ambiguous role in the war against Daesh (ISIS), and two national elections in five months, Turkey retains its age-old appeal to visitors - justifiably, writes GP Speak team member Angela Bettess.

There are so many good things to see and do in Turkey, and reducing them to a short-list of five highlights has not been easy. Nevertheless, allow me to share my top five experiences from a recent trip to Turkey lasting three weeks…

1) Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Waking up before sunrise was well worth the effort as one hundred hot air balloons floated up into the air above Cappadocia --> . Serene, wild and unforgettably beautiful, Turkey’s central desert landscape was forged by three volcanic eruptions resulting in laval formations that have since been shaped by the elements. What remains is a surreal landscape of 'fairy chimneys' – or oddly shaped steeples of rock—that provide an amazing backdrop for the morning flock of multicoloured balloons . Also incredible was the skilful landing of the baskets directly onto the trailers as they came back down to the ground.

PhD candidate, Catherine Helps

Research has begun on a PhD study aimed at exploring why a greater number than the national average of Northern Rivers parents, especially those in Byron Shire, choose not to vaccinate their children.

North Coast NSW statistics show immunisation rates for one, two and five-year olds are less than most other areas in Australia, although not dramatically so 

While these 2011-12 figures will be updated soon, the results are not expected to vary significantly.

However, the breakdown by local postcodes shows significantly higher non-vaccination rates in Byron Shire 

Beach Study 2015 now available

The latest results of Australia’s longest running study of general practice activity has found that older Australians account for the nation’s highest use of primary care resources, and the proportion they are using is increasing over time.

However, the money is well spent, lowering overall health care costs by reducing expensive specialist and hospital visits, and contributing to greater longevity.

Noting that in any one year, about 85 per cent of the population makes at least one contact with a GP, The University of Sydney’s Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) analysis focused closely on the highest users of GP services - older Australians.

This article was first published on Dr Kruys' blog on 30/10/2015.

It has been described as the holy grail of healthcare: the patient at the centre and the care team working seamlessly together, no matter where the team members are located, what tribe they belong to or who their paymaster is.

Integration has been talked about for many years. The fact that it’s high on the current political agenda means that there’s still a lot to wish for. Although we have high quality healthcare services, our patients tell us that their journey through the system is everything but smooth. Most health professionals are painfully aware of the shortcomings in the the system.

 Dr Chris Mitchell

“I believe the Government’s focus is now on saving money rather than delivering excellence” - Dr Chris Mitchell

The federal government’s decision to appoint a Sydney-based organization, GP Synergy, to manage all GP registrar training in NSW, including the Northern Rivers, has disappointed a number of Northern Rivers GPs, although they realise the decision cannot be reversed.

Many of these concerned GPs believe the tender was awarded on the basis of outright cost rather than the ratio of service quality to running costs - in short, that it was little more than a ‘Canberra cost cutting exercise’, as one put it.

Among the concerned doctors is long-time local Chris Mitchell who says his practice will not take further registrars after 1 January 2016 when the new contract comes into operation.