Dr Tony Lembke

Dr Tony Lembke retired as the Chair of the North Coast Primary Health Network in December 2018. He looks back at his time with the various primary health care support organisations from the early 1990s until today.

Not long after I joined the Alstonville Clinic as a fresh young GP in 1993 my senior partner Paul Earner suggested I put myself forward to join the Board of the newly formed Northern Rivers Division of General Practice.

I think his precise words were ‘Make sure they don’t bugger things up’.

The Lismore Base Hospital Department of General Practice was already very active at this time, and nearly all the Lismore and Alstonville GPs were VMOs. More than half the patients admitted to LBH - including obstetrics - were under the care of GPs.  We all tended to run into each other each day on the wards, and every week we met at breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. On the menu was cold toast, bad coffee and a clinical presentation.

After three decades of groundbreaking Hep C treatment in Australia, a new research project is focusing on ways of expanding Hep C care for Indigenous people. Andrew Binns explains.

In 1996 the then-Northern Rivers Division of General Practice received Federal government funding for a Hepatitis C shared care project. At the time there were 20 new notified cases of hepatitis C (Hep C) each month, according to a GPSpeak article by Dr Jane Barker, the Project Manager.

Interferon was one of the drugs used for Hep C treatment. It was given over a 6-12 months period and for some had unpleasant side effects. The waiting time to see a gastroenterologist for treatment was quite long and GPs were encouraged to share the care to reduce the workload of the specialists involved.

Geoff Hannah

Already $650,000 has been raised to keep Geoff Hannah’s masterwork in Lismore. Let’s raise the bar to $1.0m and celebrate one of the world’s best-ever pieces of furniture staying in the place where it was created.

In the past thirty years Lismore master craftsman Geoff Hannah has created five magnificent timber cabinets, with this one, known simply as the Hannah Cabinet is undoubtedly the finest, largest and most technically accomplished of them all.

With a passion for 18th and 19th century furniture Geoff was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1980, travelling  to Europe to examine the intricacies of iconic pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris and the Palace of Versailles.

Ahead of the federal election predicted for May 2019 the Shadow Health Minister Catherine King has announced Labor’s new policies on her portfolio area. This comes in the wake of Labor’s “Medi-scare” campaign in the previous election, still drawing criticism, and now, comparison with the Coalition’s scare campaign on boat borne asylum seekers.

Speaking at the National Press Club Ms King outlined her party’s vision for Medicare funding and the future of Australian general practice.

GPs are used to dealing with the politics of health, from the cost shifting which sees patients discharged with scripts they cannot afford to fill through to the regulations around ordering MRIs (to name but two). Clearly, political decisions impact our delivery of primary health care. So it should not be surprising that health practitioners may wish to influence policies on a scale broader than just dealing with health care delivery, widening our perspective to look at the social and environmental determinants of health.

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) arose as a branch of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), founded in 1990 and now having member organisations in over 30 countries.