Melanoma May – and Uveal (Ocular) Melanoma at PartridgeGP

Marissa Wreford writes (thank you!), and Dr Ian Kamerman from Northwest Health passes on:

 

May is Uveal Melanoma month.

 

Each year approximately 7 out of one million individuals are diagnosed with some form of Uveal (Ocular) Melanoma. Around half of those people will develop metastatic disease (Stage IV). Whilst average survival time has increased from 6 months to three years since my diagnosis in 2017, metastatic uveal melanoma still has a 5 year survival rate of just 15%.

 

 

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The best chance of survival is early detection. This May do something for your health, and the health of your eyes – a very underrated, yet essential, sensory organ.

 

 

So remember to go and get a dilated eye exam. A standard eye checkup with your optometrist may not show small changes, which when found early can make a big difference. Don’t take your eyes for granted. Don’t think that wearing sunglasses or eating “organic foods” and general healthy choices will spare you or someone you love from this disease. Research regarding lifestyle risks are still to this day inconclusive. Your best chance is, and likely always will be, early detection.

 

So this May ask specifically for a DILATED eye exam. Then continue to do this every May.

 

Use Ocular Melanoma Month as a reminder to give your eyes some love.

 

And for the rest of your skin:

 

Dr Nick Mouktaroudis is a GP and co-owner at PartridgeGP. He’s passionate about health education, has a special interest in Skin, and a lot of expertise to share when it comes to helping people cope with and improve Skin Conditions. With our recent move we thought back to how we started Skin Cancer Surgery and Medicine at PartridgeGP and the story is below.

 

 

Imagine a perfect day in a perfect General Practice. Focus on a busy yet unrushed GP, consulting with another valued patient. The flow of the consult is perfect, the communication great, everything is as it should be. 
 
We have to imagine days like this because they very rarely occur. Flow is fleeting and perfection is often aimed for and seldom reached. 
 
Going back to that consult, we can see that the GP is busy – but is definitely not unrushed. You can feel the pressure in the room as the patient seeks answers and closure and the GP senses the minutes ticking by. The consult comes to a close and both stand, the patient heading towards the door, the GP wishing them well, the patient’s hand is on the door and then. It happens. 
 
‘By the way Doc, what do you think of this?’
 
The GP turns away from the flashing screen and sees, across the room, a spot on the patients leg. 
 
Should we get the patient back at a later date? Offer reassurance we don’t feel confident giving?
 
Or, as the GP in this story does, do you reach for the dermatoscope, call the patient back, and look. There’s no such thing as a quick look and so the light comes out, the gel is applied, and a good thorough look is had. 
 
It’s an ugly duckling, a chaotic little mishmash of colours and globules. 
 
It would turn out to be a nasty – a nasty better appreciated in the pathologist’s dish than in the patients bloodstream.
 
A good result.
 
At the end of the day, the GP sat and wondered how this could be avoided in the future – how could we improve and be better. These challenges see us but we do not always see them.
 
This was our practice and so we had to change. 
 
Plan
Do 
Study
Act
 
Patient safety is paramount. We decided to solve for quality improvement and patient safety at the same time and made the decision to upskill one of our GPs, Dr Nick Mouktaroudis. He undertook multiple courses and extensive study in Primary Care Skin Cancer Medicine, Surgery, Therapeutics, and Dermatology. Following this we spent time and money upgrading our procedure facilities, equipment, and systems to support Dr Nick. We then allocated time for dedicated skin checks and adjusted our online booking and reception protocols. 
 
These were the first steps and in conjunction with our most recent AGPAL accreditation we have repeatedly run through this cycle, improving every time. We now have dedicated times for skin checks and skin cancer surgery, as well as protocols, systems, and education supporting Dr Nick and the other GPs in the practice. Patients enjoy seeing a GP they know and trust who can deliver appropriate care at a Primary Care level and price point. We receive great feedback from patients and local sub-specialists. It’s a clear win for patients, GPs, and our practice – and the mindset of continual quality improvement that we share with AGPAL was the way to get there. 
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What is a Skin Check?

 

 

A Skin Check is a Comprehensive Skin History and Examination which is done at PartridgeGP.

 

Your GP will ask you questions to assess the extent of Your risk/exposure to UV radiation and Your risk of solar related cancers.

 

They will examine you head to toe, examining the skin surface, focusing on any areas of concern (including the eyes, mouth, and anywhere else you may have noticed any spots, lumps, or bumps).

 

 

 

Are there any tools used for the Skin Check?

 

 

A proper examination needs proper equipment and we use handheld LED illumination with magnification as well as polarised light and clinical photography.

 

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A dermatoscope is used to examine specific skin lesions. This is a particular type of handheld magnifying device designed to allow the experienced examiner to further assess skin lesions and determine whether they are suspicious or not.

 

 

 

Who should have a Skin Check?

 

 

We encourage all Australians over the age of 40 to have a Skin Check annually. Australians have one of the highest rates of skin cancers in the world.

 

 

Australians who have above average risks should be having Skin Checks before the age of 40 and sometimes more than annually.

 

 

You should have a Skin Check at any age if You are concerned about Your skin or particular skin lesions/areas.

 

 

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We ask You to identify any lesions of concern prior to the Skin Check wherever possible.

 

 

These may include new lesions that You have noticed or longstanding lesions that may be changing in some way or that You are concerned about. If You are worried – Ask!

 

Skin cancer check risk dr Nick Mouktaroudis

Risk factors for skin cancer

 

 

 

People at higher risk of skin cancer are those who:

 

have previously had a skin cancer and/or have a family history of skin cancer

have a large number of moles on their skin

have a skin type that is sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and burns easily

have a history of severe/blistering sunburns

spend lots of time outdoors, unprotected, during their lifetime

actively tan or use solariums or sunlamps

work outdoors

 

 

 

 

Does My GP take photos of My Skin?

 

 

 

During a skin check at PartridgeGP Your GP will ask Your Specific Consent to take photos if they are concerned or want to make note of a particular skin lesion.

 

Photographs are useful as an adjunct to description of the lesion and act as a reference to position and comparison if required.

 

The photos will be uploaded onto Your Private Medical Record at PartridgeGP.

 

 

 

What if My GP finds something?

 

 

 

This will depend on what Your GP has found.

 

If they are concerned about a particular skin lesion they may suggest a biopsy to clarify the diagnosis.

 

A biopsy is a surgical procedure during which they take an appropriate sample of tissue from the lesion of concern and send it to a pathologist for review.

 

Generally pigmented lesions (coloured spots), will be biopsied in their entirety whereas non pigmented skin lesions may be sampled partially if the lesion is too large to sample in its entirety.

 

The results of the pathology report will guide further treatment.

 

Your GP may elect to treat without a biopsy if they are confident of the diagnosis.

 

This may include freezing/cauterising a lesion, cutting it out (excising), or offering topical treatments such as creams.

 

Biopsies are scheduled in the PartridgeGP theatre and our Practice Nurse will assist Your GP.

 

 

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What do I wear for a Skin Check?

 

 

 

Comfortable clothing.

 

Your GP will ask to examine you down to your underwear.

 

A sheet or towel will be provided for you to preserve your comfort and dignity.

 

A chaperone (Our Practice Nurse) is always offered.

 

Please avoid makeup or nail polish as the Skin Check involves the face and skin under the nails.

 

 

 

 

How long is a Skin Check?

 

 

Allow half an hour for Your GP to perform a thorough history and examination.

 

 

 

 

Do I need to see My GP or should I see a dermatologist?

 

 

GPs are Primary Care Physicians on the front line of Skin Cancer detection.

 

All GPs can check your skin, though not all GPs have formal training or a specific interest in skin cancer medicine and dermatoscopy.

 

Dr Nick Mouktaroudis has trained extensively in General Practice, Skin Cancer Medicine and Surgery, and has formal qualifications in Skin Cancer Medicine.

 

Dermatologists are non-GP specialists in all skin conditions including Skin Cancer Medicine and Surgery although some will focus on other skin conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

Can I do more than a Skin Check?

 

 

 

You can Reduce Your risk by:

Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun

Wearing sunscreen regularly and on all sun exposed areas.

Wear Hats and Sunglasses when appropriate.

Be aware of Your skin – both You and Your partner can check at Home.

Having a yearly DILATED eye exam with Your Optometrist (anywhere that sells glasses!)

 

 

 

 

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Book Your Skin Check Right Here.

 

 

 

Need more information? Leave a comment or see us in person. We’re Here to Help!

 

 

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You can see any of our Great GPs right here:

 

 

Dr Gareth Boucher

Dr David Hooper

Dr Clare MacKillop

Dr Jen Becker

Dr Penny Massy-Westropp

Dr Monika Moy

Dr Abby Mudford

Dr Katherine Astill

Dr Nick Mouktaroudis

Dr Nick Tellis

 

 

 

The Air Health Check

AiR Health Checks; do you need one?

News / 2019.04.01

The Air Foundation’s Serial Killer awareness campaign has delivered a huge win for Aussies.

This week, the nation’s major political parties committed to introducing a Medicare-funded Air Health Check for all Australians at risk of death.

Are you at risk? Do you need a Air Health Check? 

Every day Australians die; it’s confronting. 

The Air Foundation has campaigned for Air Health Checks because they can save lives. Air Health Checks can also help to prevent the pain and suffering that people and their families endure after death.

Professor Air-Brained, Airologist and Chief Medical Advisor for the Air Foundation says the introduction of Air Health Checks, and better treatments for people at risk of death, could, over the next five years, prevent:

  • 10,000 Air GP clinic closures
  • 9,100 bureaucrat job losses
  • 100 politicians seats lost
  • 1-2 deaths*

*estimated

A Air Health Check could save your life or the life of someone you love. Your regular GP has been told to perform the check, and the results indicate your level of risk for air issues within the next five years. Your Air Health Check could involve:

  • Taking your blood to check air levels (low air blood is blue)
  • Checking your blood pressure (zero can be bad)
  • Learning more about your immediate family’s air health history (deceased relatives often have poor Air Health Scores)
  • Considering any other health conditions you may have, such as the many other conditions often covered by Your GP at every other visit
  • Discussing your diet, whether you smoke and how active you are 
  • Assessing your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement 

But, how do you know if you need one? 

The Air Foundation recommends Australians over 45 years of age have a Air Health Check. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians should have a check when they are over 35.

How do you get a Air Health Check? 

Medicare-funded Air Health Checks will be available from your GP from April 2019.

Know more about your air health. 

Right now, you can learn more about your air health by completing the Air Foundation’s Air Age Calculator; by answering a few simple questions, you can learn more about your air age and your risk of having a premature election.

However, when April 1 has passed, and you are ready to see Your GP – PartridgeGP will be here for you!

Welcoming Dr Jen Becker to PartridgeGP

PartridgeGP is proud to welcome Dr Jen Becker to our team!

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Dr Jen completed her medical degree at Flinders University in 2012 and since then has worked in hospitals across Adelaide and beyond. She most recently completed a 6 month term in public health in Darwin.

Her medical interests include sexual health, women’s health, and adolescent health. Outside medicine, her energies go into cooking, travel, and spending time with family.

We welcome Dr Jen to Our Team here at PartridgeGP to be Your GP!

She is available to help you with all of your General Practice needs from mid April 2019 and you can book your appointment with her conveniently online right here – or call our friendly reception team on 0882953200.

All of our doctors here at PartridgeGP are fully qualified ‘Fellows’ (or are studying towards this) holding a specialist qualification with either the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM) or both (3-4 years of full time study and 3 exams on top of an undergraduate university medical degree and supervised trainee ‘intern’ year in a hospital). This is our minimum specialist standard and we may have other qualifications and skills.

Our Fellows provide supervision and advice to our Registrars and you may find that they are called in to consult with the Registrar on your case. ‘Registrars’ are qualified doctors who have completed their hospital training and are now embarking on their General Practice training. Some may already have other qualifications in medical or other fields.

We also supervise and teach Medical Students from Flinders University. They are still studying to become doctors. All of us – Fellows, Registrars, and Medical Students – make up the Clinical Team here at PartridgeGP with our excellent Practice Nurses. We all uphold the highest standards of privacy, confidentiality, professionalism, and clinical practice.

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DR NICK TELLIS

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Your Specialist In Life

DR NICK MOUKTAROUDIS

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DR GARETH BOUCHER

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DR PENNY MASSY-WESTROPP

dr penny massy westropp - your gp

DR MONIKA MOY

dr monika moy- your gp

DR ABBY MUDFORD

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DR JEN BECKER

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DR DAVID HOOPER

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2 things you probably didn’t know about Pro Bono work and PartridgeGP

Many people are concerned about the rising costs of living. One of those costs can be the cost of medical care. Often, but not always, cost and value align (so something that costs more is worth more and is of higher quality, and vice versa).

 

General Practice in Australia is both efficient and excellent with nearly 90% of Australians seeing a GP at least once a year and this delivering world leading outcomes at a good price. Still, the Medicare Rebate for patients has not kept up with the rising costs of providing medical care and running a medical practice and so out of pocket costs have gone up for patients.

 

Patients Medicare rebates are set by politicians, an increasing number of whom are lawyers. Lawyers often point to pro bono services they provide for the poor and disadvantaged and here we come to the first thing you probably didn’t know:

 

“Pro bono” comes from the Latin phrase “pro bono publico” which means “for the public good”. In the legal context it generally means the provision of legal services on a free or significantly reduced fee basis.

 

Now for the second thing you probably didn’t know:

Almost every GP in Australia is providing pro bono work on a daily basis when they bulk bill patients.

 

The patients Medicare rebate, which a GP accepts as full payment for professional services if bulk billing, is less than half the recommended professional fee for most GP services.

An election is coming. Let your politician know that your health shouldn’t depend on pro bono work from your GP.

 

It’s your Medicare Rebate.

 

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You deserve better.

 

You know it. Make them know it too.

 

Contact them below

Scott Morrison

Bill Shorten

Richard Di Natale

Greg Hunt

Catherine King

Why external rewards undermine internal motivation

We have a great system…how do we improve it?

Doctor's Bag

In my last post, I mentioned the issue of lack of trust in institutions. It appears that our world is increasingly running on financial incentives and regulation. Psychologist Barry Schwartz states that this undermines our will to do the right thing.

This week Dr Todd Cameron, GP and practice owner in Victoria, posted an excellent four-minute LinkedIn video about why financial incentives are not as effective as we sometimes think. He mentioned the following issues with financial performance systems:

  • They assume people are lazy
  • They are not supported by scientific evidence
  • They ignore activities that are difficult to measure
  • They reduce the flexibility of organisations
  • They take away resources for system improvement
  • KPIs often work against each other or against other goals, values or purposes
  • KPIs can undermine collaboration.

Research confirms that incentives, big or small, usually backfire. Like punishments, they affect internal motivation and creativity. Social scientist and author Alfie…

View original post 174 more words

General Practice – a strong-link or a weak-link profession?

General Practice is the cornerstone and beating heart of Primary Care in Australia. Much of this work and care happens behind closed doors, one on one with our valued patients. It is so important to be collegial and supportive to our peers and colleagues. It improves us, our profession, and our care.

Thanks for another well written post Dr Genevieve!

Genevieve's anthology

Not long ago I ran into a recently Fellowed GP whom I’d had the pleasure of supervising as a medical student several years ago.  She was exceptional – bright, keen and an amazing communicator who just “got it”.  During her time with me she joined in with my group registrar teaching and exam prep workshops (AKT/KFP and OSCE).  In the mock OSCE she did better than most of the registrars who were about to sit their Fellowship exams.  After three weeks in general practice (as a student) and a two hour session on what the AKT and KFP were about, she passed both written practice exams (which were shorter than but of a similar standard to the real thing).  Mind you, she wasn’t perfect – there were gaps in her knowledge, and nothing can replace clinical experience, but she was safe.  She knew what she didn’t know.  She knew how…

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