Newsletter | Issue 2 | 2023
Welcome from the Head of Department
Welcome to the winter edition of the Department of General Practice and Primary Care Newsletter. That’s right – we have had a name change! The edition of primary care in our title recognises our interdisciplinary workforce in our department of GPs, nurses, biostatisticians, health informaticians, managers, non-clinical researchers and others all devoting their careers to improving the health of the population through primary care research and teaching. It also recognises that general practice collaborates with other primary care clinicians such as nurses, mental health practitioners and allied health in our primary care system to provide coordinated patient centred care.
The Federal Budget was great for general practice and primary care. We are grateful for the advocacy done by many, especially the RACGP, in achieving these reforms which should start to address the problems that the Medicare freeze started. As educators of the future medical workforce, we are turning our attention to attracting more medical students to general practice and to grow nurses undertaking our primary care nursing graduate certificate. We still are needing to advocate for more $$ in primary care research and to support primary care researchers, especially GPs. With enhanced research training the profession can lead innovation and study the best models for the future of general practice.
A warm welcome to our two new Academic Registrars, Rochelle Sleaby and Daniel Petzke. Rochelle will be working with Prof. Dougie Boyle, A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis and Dr Rachael Canaway with a focus on using data to prevent type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. Daniel will be working with A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis and Dr Christine Hallinan on indicators for detecting and managing chronic kidney disease in primary care. Two interesting projects that I look forward to hearing more about. Rochelle is also a recipient of the Prestigious MACH TRACK award which prepares future leaders with different research experiences before they undertake a PhD. We also welcome our new Dr Leon Carp Award winner, Dr Valerie Quah. Dr Quah’s research will focus on diabetes among First Nations people. Valerie will be conducting her research from within Indigenous communities in Alice Springs, NT and will be supervised by A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis and Dr Rita McMorrow as she undertakes the project.
I would also like to thank everyone who attended the annual celebration of our general practice community at the Woodward Conference Centre on the 24th of May and congratulate all the award winners. We deeply appreciate the ongoing contribution of our Victorian general practices in supervising our students and helping us to advance the discipline of primary care through research. Along with the stimulating conversation and a delicious dinner, we were treated to an interesting and topical presentation highlighting the importance of national practice-based data and research networks by Professor Nigel Stokes, Chief Investigator with PARTNER and Director of ASPREN.
Continuing with the theme of information sharing and collaboration, congratulations go to our Cancer in Primary Care Team for the successful launch of their new Data Connect Program. After six years of planning and development, cancer researchers are now able to access more than 130 million de-identified medical records collated from general practice and hospital visits. As with all disease, early detection is critical and the wealth of information now provided by Data Connect will no doubt lead to improved diagnoses and interventions.
There is definitely a big focus on data in this edition with the announcement that Future Health Today will be adding a range of new modules to their on-the-go clinical recommendation tool, and Torch Recruit receiving additional funding from The University of Melbourne and Western Health to expand their clinical trial reach and build their general practice network. You can read more about these and many other interesting topics in our latest newsletter below.