Frequently Un-asked Questions

1. Does Don Medical Clinic only see young people ?

No. The practice was initially established as an on-campus at Don College. Due to increasing need and demand a full service family practice was established to cater for all ages with a focus on early intervention and assisting patients to manage their chronic conditions effectively.

Currently the practice has 2123 active patients ( active meaning those that have visited 3 times in the past 2 years )

Our indigenous population:

2. Does Don Medical Clinic have only complex cases and do only mental health ?

No , Don Medical Clinic does not only do mental health or complex cases. We see the whole spectrum of acute and chronic disease and illness:

Mental health issues do rate highly but that is not dissimiliar to other practices throughout the nation and in particular rural areas. The practice team are passionate about early intervention and prevention and annual reminders are in place for health assessements. We are keen to help patients be educated and engaged in their own health care. This is part of the Keep Well Clinic that also encompasses chronic disease management .

3. Does Don Medical Clinic do aged care or palliative care, or 'normal general practice' ?

We do lots of 'normal general practice' ! We have a well establish team based chronic disease program. This has been influenced by our Health Care Home experience. Don Medical Clinic has several patients in local nursing homes, home visits are also done on a weekly basis for those patients who struggle to get into see the doctor. Don Medical Clinic does palliative care at multiple levels of need and facilitating dying at home if that is the patients desire. We ensure Advanced Care Directives are in place where necessary.

4. How does Don Medical Clinic know it is delivering quality care ?

Over the past 12 months the medical students placed on rotation have performed audits of the nature of the clinics hospital presentations, management of atrial fibrillation, asthma management , chronic pain management and a review of the accuracy of medication summaries for our Tier 3 ( most complex ) Health Care Home patients. All of these audits have demonstrated quality evidence based care. There have certainly been areas to improve upon but overall the practice is tracking well. The clinic team are happy to discuss these audits if you are interested.

5. Can Don Medical Clinic deliver consistent care with so many locum GPs ?

For sure the locum model of care is not the ideal. To ensure that patients are not at risk, the locum doctors have a detailed induction where the policies and procedures are outlined in the context of the platform on which autonomous care is performed by the doctor. Every morning the team, including reception, nurse, medical student and doctor meet and the appointments for the day are outlined highlighting what individual patient needs might be required in that consultation. This means that if you do have to see a Locum GP, they are given a clinical handover to ensure continuity of care. New policies and procedures are discussed and modified if needed from the group discussion. It is also an opportunity to have clinical discussions around challenging issues that might occur. Every week the clinical staff including the locum doctors meet for a clinical meeting.

6. Part time GPs would struggle to have someone cover their patients when they are not working ?

In fact the opposite is true. The clinical results for the part time doctor are monitored and followed up by the clinical lead depending on the urgency. If there are issues with a patient, the practice will triage and sort the urgency and if needed be the patient will be seen on the day by another doctor. The philosophy of the practice is that if we all work as a team and pay attention to our modes of communication then issues for patients are less likely to get missed.

7. Can Don Medical Clinic be a financially competitive practice ?

Don Medical Clinic is not a bulk billing practice. Patients are charged for the services of the clinical team. The clinical lead doctor, practice nurse, business manager and practice manager have all attended workshops by April Armstrong from Business for Doctors, and the practice team has a good grasp on how to utilies Medicare in way that ethically meets Medicare criteria and meets the patients needs as well keep the out of pocket cost to the patient to a minimum. Further training by the doctors has also led to a capacity to offer services and other Medicare item number to ensure the doctors skills and time is adequately remunerated and te patients receive the maximum rebate.

Don Medical Clinic is also offering employee contracts to doctors, where by a regular income is guaranteed with bonuses, holiday , carer/sick leave and study leave are included. Financial assistance for Medical indemnity fees and funding for a Business for Doctors workshop is included in the package. For more information please contact: manager@donmedical.com.au

8. What sort of training do you need to be an owner/ clinical lead of a small practice ?

None ! But to be an effective leader and to understand the importance of policy and procedures and how systems work Dr Cooper, as the principal GP, has undergone training in leadership specific to women with Women Leadership Australia . Dr Jane continues to meet with a mentor from this program for guidance on how to further refine leaderships skills in primary care. The management team would provide funding for this course for a female GP who was on a long term contract with the practice.

Dr Jane Cooper has also completed a course with UTas in Clinical Redesign . This course has provided essential tools to assist in running a practice and establishing new programs, like our Health Care Home Program.

9. Being a small practice can Don Medical Clinic , adequately support junior doctors in training ?

Dr Jane is the full time clinical lead educator and the practice team provide education for all junior doctors in training. Reception and Nursing staff have essentail knowledge and skills that are valuable to young doctors. Locum doctors and part-time doctors are also expected to teach and support doctors in training. Dr Jane has a long career in medical education and is very passionate about supporting local students establish a future career in their own community . She completed a Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching for Health Professionals with UTAS and the practice educational program has been developed from that with an online component.

Don Medical Clinic, being in a regional rural area also does a great deal of telehealth. This too is a fabulous way to link with specialist of all domains and discuss the patient's needs with a much more person centred approach and at the same time keep up to date with new approaches to care.

The practice is registered for GP training to support GP registrars on GP3 plus terms. The practice would also be well suited for doctors who choose the RACGP Practice Experience Program ( PEP ) pathway to fellowship. If you would like to discuss this further please email: manager@donmedical.com.au

We hope that this information has been useful to you.

Don Medical Clinic Team