Catherine King MP

Should Labor win this year’s federal election it seems likely that the Primary Health Network (PHN) system will be retained but face a number of changes. This is the signal coming from the long-serving Shadow Minister for Health, ALP parliamentarian Catherine King who responded to an inquiry about the PHNs from GP Speak.

Established on 1 July 2015, after the disbanding of the Medicare Locals, there are 31 PHNs in Australia, the local one being the North Coast Primary Health Network extending from Tweed Heads down to Port Macquarie.

Despite describing the move to establish the PHNs as “unnecessary and counter-productive”, Ms King said Labor “continues to strongly support” them.

Pictured are medical students with preceptors from the Hospital and General Practice. (L-R) Medical student Jack Archer, GBH staff specialist Dr Kanewala Jayasekara , medical student Keiran Davis, medical student Felix Loschetter and GP Dr Nicholas Cooper.

The staff, students and preceptors that form part of the Clarence Valley University of Wollongong (UoW) Phase 3 Extended Clinical program, celebrated the end of the year in a Christmas get together in November 2018 (pictured here).

UoW in collaboration with the North Coast University Centre for Rural Health ,has a strong focus on preparing medical students for rural practice has been sending students to the Clarence Valley since the establishment of this post graduate medical degree 10 years ago.  Whilst on placement in the Clarence Valley, senior medical students spend time at Grafton and Maclean Hospitals and local General Practices, as well as immersing themselves in the local community.

Jessica Holster – University of Wollongong 4th year medical student

I did not come to study medicine because of any childhood dream or lifelong aspirations to save lives, which is perhaps the more conventional path into this career. I finished high school in Port Macquarie in 2009 and went straight to university to study radiography. I graduated in 2012 and commenced my career as a radiographer in Coffs Harbour.

It was during my time here that I began my journey towards becoming a doctor. A radiologist at my work noticed that I was trying to further my education through various university courses, none of which maintained my interest. He enthused me to sit GAMSAT. I battled with the thought of becoming a doctor for the simple fact that I did not believe I could possibly be smart enough or as brilliant as some of the doctors I had the honour of working alongside of.

With his encouragement and reassurance, I agreed to sit the exam and see what came of it. In 2015, to my absolute shock I passed GAMSAT and received an invitation to interview at the University of Wollongong (UOW). A dream was becoming a reality right before my eyes.

Israel, an extraordinary country populated by extraordinary peoples -75% Jewish and 21% Arabic. Resilient, resourceful, innovative.

We had been promising ourselves a visit since 1991 when our travel plans to attend a wedding in Jerusalem were thwarted by the beginning of the first Gulf War. So, finally, we made it to the Promised Land in October 2018 … enchanting us with a multitude of warm and wondrous memories; answering several long-standing questions about the Middle East; but, leaving us with anxiety about the medium and long-term future of the State of Israel.

Our trip was aided and abetted by our travelling companions, long-standing Jewish friends from Melbourne, who had visited Israel many times during the past 50 years. They organised a local Israeli guide, an historian, who answered our weird and left field questions, at every step along the way. Plenty of planning ensured that we saw and did all that we wished, much of it off the traditional tourist path.

The opt out period for withdrawing from the My Health Record has been postponed for a further three months. This is the third delay in the implementation of the scheme to grant all Australians a default, although initially blank, online health record.

The scheme was first scheduled to commence in mid October 2018 after an initial three month opt out period. Health Minister Greg Hunt has acceded to pressure from the privacy lobby to delay the implementation until 31 January 2019.