World Family Doctor Day by Dr Anna Putnis

May 18, 2021

May 19 is World Family Doctor Day, a day to reflect on the essential role GPs play in our community.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the work of GPs on the frontline in Australia. Not only did we treat patients with respiratory symptoms at the outset of the pandemic, but we also provided Covid 19 testing, and are now instrumental in the roll-out of the vaccine.

To celebrate general practitioners on World Family Doctor Day, here’s a quote by Dr Suneel Dhand:
“In our job, you will never go home at the end of the day thinking that you haven’t done something valuable and important.”

GPs at Bulli Medical Practice

We began vaccinating patients eligible for Phase 1B in late March and Phase 2A in early May. It has been a significant adjustment for all our staff. Practice nurses and administration staff are essential to the process, taking bookings, getting patient information, administering the vaccine and ensuring compliance with the Australian Immunisation Registration. A GP oversees every vaccine clinic, ensuring patient consent checking their medical histories, medications, and monitoring for any adverse reactions.

When patients book in for the Covid-19 vaccine, we encourage them make appointments for both their first and second shot. Ideally, this is spaced 12 weeks apart to ensure maximum vaccine effectiveness.

To ensure we could still see our regular patients on our normal days, GPs have worked overtime to run the vaccination clinics. This is in addition to the respiratory clinic which is still offered every weekday afternoon in a separate space.

The past year has brought so many changes for general practice, including Covid-19 hygiene protocols, telehealth, eScripts and personal protective equipment. We have all had to be very flexible and responsive. And this will continue with the Covid-19 vaccination clinics, as there are likely to be last-minute changes with vaccine supply.

Looking to the future

Autumn and Winter will be busy with the ongoing vaccine rollout as well as influenza vaccines and the usual coughs and colds we see at this time. We encourage patients to get their flu vaccination but to wait 2 weeks after (or before) receiving their Covid-19 vaccine.

With the end of the pandemic in sight, we expect to start seeing patients who have weathered their health complaints and/or delayed seeing their GP over the past year.