Your best Health Insurance is Your GP v2.0

Yesterday we talked about risk. Risk is mitigated by knowledge and experience. I don’t know who said this, but I’m going to take a wild and crazy guess and say it wasn’t from Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld series. This gives us another way to mitigate risk. Insurance.

Risks come at us everyday in our personal and professional lives. We accept that life involves risk. Risk happens.

‘Life is a risky business, no-one gets out alive’


Health concerns us all, especially now, and we try to improve our health or at least to manage it. Some risks are foreseeable but some are not. These drive our uptake of health insurance. Health insurance is therefore a bit of a ‘grudge purchase’ – we don’t really want to buy it but we don’t want to do without it. Is it worth the money we pay for it? Some high profile voices say no. A past president of the AMA agrees:

A past president of the RACGP concurred:

if you increase the number of GPs by 1 per 10,000 people the death rate goes down 9%

Dr Bastian Seidel; Past President, RACGP

Your health is your wealth, as the saying goes, and you build wealth by spending wisely.

Some tests, treatments and procedures provide little benefit. And in some cases, they may even cause harm.
Use the 5 questions to make sure you end up with the right amount of care — not too much and not too little.

Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?

Tests may help you and your doctor or other health care provider determine the problem. Treatments, such as medicines, and procedures may help to treat it.

What are the risks?

Will there be side effects to the test or treatment? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing, additional treatments or another procedure?

Are there simpler, safer options?

Are there alternative options to treatment that could work. Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods or exercising more, can be safe and effective options.

What happens if I don’t do anything?

Ask if your condition might get worse — or better — if you don’t have the test, treatment or procedure right away.

What are the costs?

Costs can be financial, emotional or a cost of your time. Where there is a cost to the community, is the cost reasonable or is there a cheaper alternative?

Your GP can be a great ally in navigating through the health system, a great support for you in times of need, and a great investment in your health. 

“Patients whose care is well managed and coordinated by their usual GP are less likely to cost the health system more in the long run because their GP-coordinated care will keep them out of hospital.

“Supporting general practice to continue managing these patients – who are growing in number each year – is an investment in health care that can help make the health system more sustainable.”

Past AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler

PartridgeGP works with you to help you make your best health decisions. We pride ourselves on great communication and we’re ready to share our professional skills and knowledge with you. This is only MORE important now, in the time of a global pandemic with a new vaccine on the horizon. The way forward is clear: make your appointment with us conveniently online right here – or call our friendly reception team on 82953200.

Better, for you.

Want more?

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

For everyone, we believe that having a usual GP or General Practice is central to each person’s care and recommend that people with any health issues that come to the attention of other health professionals should be advised to attend their usual GP or General Practice rather than a specialised service (ie a place not providing the holistic care a specialist GP would).   If  they say that they don’t have a usual GP or general practice, they should be helped to find one and to actually attend it. Call PartridgeGP on 82953200 or make an appointment online here.

(Hat tip: Dr Oliver Frank)

(TL;DR – Get a regular GP or General Practice and use them!)

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

If you’re employed, get a side hustle and get into business. If you’ve already got a business, get a network. Want to get started? Find your tribe here!

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

If you are a great GP or a great Allied Health Professional, and you want to serve your clients or patients to the best of your ability, without worrying about all the non clinical things that get in your way, lets talk. Call Mrs Hayley Roberts on 8295 3200 and have a coffee and chat with us as to how PartridgeGP can help you to help others.


In 1990 I watched Graham Gooch of England make 333 and 123 in a Test Match against India at Lord’s. It was a different time and a different country. Gooch looked decidedly unathletic (although apparently a fitness fanatic) and I certainly don’t remember the Indian pace attack as anything like the current potent crew. As Gooch approached his three hundredth run, the BBC cut to a horse race showing the usual tin ear of public broadcasters. It was compelling but hadn’t quite reached exciting. For those of you not baptised into the religion of Test Cricket, simply put, one fellow throws a small hard leather ball in a special way (bowling) at some wooden poles (the wickets) from a distance of 22 yards (the pitch) while another fellow (the batsman) uses a wooden club (bat) to prevent this. Other fellows stand around to catch or intercept the ball, and also provide commentary on the batsman’s skill, character, and parentage.

I moved to Australia and one of the instant upgrades was supporting the Australian cricket team. Staying up in 1995 to listen to Steve Waugh wearing bouncer after bouncer after bouncer as Australia finally rolled the West Indies in their own backyard was incredibly exciting. Part of that excitement was risk. The players had arm/chest guards, gloves, pads, boxes, helmets, and increasingly large bats but the spectacle and danger of confronting 140-150 kilometre missiles was enthralling.

It had a lot of value for the players involved and for the audiences in the West Indies, Australia, and around the world. The West Indies are a collection of independent island countries who only come together as the West Indies for cricket. Much the same could be said about Australia and it’s Federation of States (especially in light of recent border shenanigans). Australia had been planning this assault for years. The West Indies were coming off a long period of world domination and were raging against the dying of the light as their great players aged.

Fast forwarding again, I went back to England in 2013 to watch the Australian team play England at Lord’s. One of the Australian players to watch was a star of the future – Phillip Hughes. He didn’t have the most auspicious day at Lord’s but certainly looked a player of the future. It was to be his final Test Match. Hughes was a short man, like many of the great batsmen, and so had become accustomed to bowlers aiming at his chest and head. He was an accomplished player of this style of (short pitched) bowling. Sadly, in 2014, Hughes was batting in a State game and despite all of his protective apparel, was hit in the neck by a short pitched ball. He was incredibly unlucky to be hit in the neck in precisely the wrong spot. Wikipedia recounts:

causing a vertebral artery dissection that led to a subarachnoid haemorrhage. The Australian team doctor, Peter Brukner, noted that only 100 such cases had ever been reported, with “only one case reported as a result of a cricket ball”

The risk that made the matches in the West Indies so enthralling and the risk that added value to that spectacle was the same risk that ended with Phil Hughes’ death. Certainly players, spectators, and officials thought long and hard about this risk afterwards. As a result of this we now have something called a stem guard which is a little bit of plastic that protects that very vulnerable area of the neck. Hopefully this particular type of injury will never happen again with these consequences. The amount of short pitched bowling decreased, for a while, but then returned to previous levels (perhaps regressed to the mean). Then, something else happened. 

Today we can see players like Neil Wagner eulogised for bowling into the batsman’s armpit, shoulder, and head. This line of attack into the batsman’s blind spot can hit them, hurt them, or just put them off their game. Wagner recently won a Test Match for his country like this (with two broken toes).

“Neil Wagner was outstanding,” Stead said. “I’m not sure there are too many individuals that could do what he did in that Test match.

Further statistics during the current Australia vs India test series show a clear advantage gained by short pitched bowling. Furthermore, almost uniquely in top level sport, this involves the some of one team doing what they do best against some of the other team doing what they do worst (bowlers bowling at bowlers batting).  Is this too much risk and who makes this decision and on what basis?

This conundrum – the risk of injury and death versus the benefits of economic value resulting from the spectacle – mirrors some situations we face in medicine and life:

Lockdowns vs Targeted Protection

New Vaccines vs New Viruses

Medication vs Lifestyle

I don’t have a universal answer for this, in cricket, life, or in medicine. I firmly believe that we should have these conversations and come to answers that are transparent and workable. From the macro level in Australia and the world to the micro level in the consult room, I think this is the way we should manage risk. We should be mindful of risk in all of our consultations and all of our dealings with patients. If you would like to be part of a team that can afford and prioritise the time taken to consider risk in each and every consultation and dealing then the way forward is clear: make your appointment with us conveniently online right here – or call our friendly reception team on 82953200 or…

here are the steps!

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

For everyone, we believe that having a usual GP or General Practice is central to each person’s care and recommend that people with any health issues that come to the attention of other health professionals should be advised to attend their usual GP or General Practice rather than a specialised service (ie a place not providing the holistic care a specialist GP would).   If  they say that they don’t have a usual GP or general practice, they should be helped to find one and to actually attend it. Call PartridgeGP on 82953200 or make an appointment online here.

(Hat tip: Dr Oliver Frank)

(TL;DR – Get a regular GP or General Practice and use them!)

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

If you’re employed, get a side hustle and get into business. If you’ve already got a business, get a network. Want to get started? Find your tribe here!

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

If you are a great GP or a great Allied Health Professional, and you want to serve your clients or patients to the best of your ability, without worrying about all the non clinical things that get in your way, lets talk. Call Mrs Hayley Roberts on 8295 3200 and have a coffee and chat with us as to how PartridgeGP can help you to help others.

COVID clearance certificates and PartridgeGP

Did you know medical certificates expire? They have an end date! So when an employer or other entity asks for a clearance certificate, this is what we are going to write:

Dear Employer,

The whole point of a medical certificate is to certify someone unwell or unfit. This is why there is a beginning date AND an end date. At the end date, the patient is no longer certified unwell/unfit. I have enclosed the negative COVID results and you will note your employees certificate has reached its end date. I further enclose professional advice from our professional organisation in regard to this. It follows that the certificate of ‘clearance’ you are suggesting is unprofessional and those who would provide one are acting similarly.

I hope this information finds you well.


Doctor Nick
Specialist GP

Hope this helps! If you are still unwell or need any further information, say hi to your PartridgeGP and book in here for a phone or face to face consult!

Risk and COVID19

Did you know that they just released data from 17 million anonymised patients in the UK and analysed risk factors for #covid19 ?

Full Paper here

We are only a phone call (with video if needed!) away if you need more information.

SA has guidelines – the roadmap back!

And in the future

Did you also know that we can Test You for COVID 19 / Coronavirus if

Unexplained fever / chills
Unexplained cough/sore throat/short of breath
High risk settings:

Aged care and other residential care facilities
Healthcare settings
Military – group residential and other closed settings, such as Navy ships or living in accommodation
Boarding schools and other group residential settings
Educational settings where students are present
Childcare centres
Correctional facilities
Detention centres
Workplaces where social distancing can’t be readily practised
Remote industrial sites with accommodation (e.g. mine sites)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rural and remote communities, in consultation with CDCB
Settings where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring, in consultation with CDCB

Testing at
Australian Clinical Labs 670 Anzac Highway Glenelg IN YOUR CAR


You still need a doctor’s referral so
Partridge GP here for phone consults at or by calling 82953200 or

We’re here to serve you during this difficult time as we always have
To make a phone appointment click here or call us on 82953200

Telemedicine | RACGP | PartridgeGP

The RACGP SA&NT in conjunction with SA Health and a local panel of presenters, will be presenting a webinar update on Telemedicine, discussing tips and tricks related to undertaking telehealth in your practice.





Topics to be covered:

·         Discussing the role of telehealth and the consent process

·         New MBS item numbers

·         Registrars working remotely

·         Undertaking paperwork when working remotely

·         E-prescribing Legislation

·         Combining telehealth with face to face consults

·         Rolling Q&A

Date:  Thursday, 16 April 2020

Time: 6.30-7.30 pm

Cost: FREE

Register in advance for this webinar:

Registrations close 5pm Thursday 16 April 2020.


Dr Emily Kirkpatrick – Deputy Chair, RACGP SA&NT & SA Health COVID-19 GP Liaison Team

Dr Daniel Byrne – SA Health COVID-19 GP Liaison Team

Dr Alvin Chua – RACGP SA&NT Council member

Dr Nicholas Tellis – GP, Owner PartridgeGP

Electronic Prescribing at PartridgeGP

You bet!

Those bits of paper your GP gives you to get medications from your Pharmacist are changing. Scripts are now DIGITAL!

GPs can now send prescriptions to pharmacists electronically as an interim solution during the pandemic. 

As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan telehealth model, the new interim measure allows GPs to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacists without having to mail out a physical copy of the original paper prescription with a GP’s wet-ink signature.

Patients can then have their script filled and medication delivered to their door, helping to minimise the risk of virus transmission in accordance with social-distancing measures.

‘It’s certainly going to make it easier for practices, because they are being inundated with pharmacists asking them to post prescriptions to them,’
‘I know at my practices it’s causing substantial concern.
‘We’re getting calls every day from pharmacists saying, “I can’t dispense unless you send me the hardcopy paper”, and we’re saying, “We don’t have the resources to keep running out and buying stamps, and it’s just not safe to put staff in that position”.
‘So we’ve had a bit of a stalemate for the last few weeks and this is a great outcome in the short term.’

Dr Nathan Pinksier – GP

As outlined in guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DoH), GPs will be required to do as follows:

  1. Create a paper prescription during a telehealth consultation. This will need to be signed as normal or using a valid digital signature
  2. Create a clear copy of the entire prescription (a digital image such as a photo or PDF including the barcode where applicable)
  3. Send via email, fax or text message directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice

Schedule 8 and 4(D) medicines such as opioids and fentanyl are not part of the interim arrangement.

While not legally required, the DoH encourages practices that are able to continue sending the original script to pharmacies to do so as soon as possible. All other practices must retain the paper prescription for a period of up to two years for audit and compliance purposes.


This is a great step forwards!

Electronic Prescriptions

Changes have been made to Commonwealth legislation to recognise an electronic prescription as a legal form to allow medicine supply. This provides prescribers and patients with an alternative to paper prescriptions. Paper prescriptions will still be available.

Electronic prescribing will not fundamentally change existing prescribing and dispensing processes. It provides patients with greater choice and patients can still choose which pharmacy they attend to fill their prescription.

Under the Australian Government’s National Health Plan for COVID-19, electronic prescriptions are now being fast-tracked to support telehealth and allow patients to receive vital healthcare services while maintaining physical distancing and, where necessary, isolation.

A significant amount of work has already been done to ensure that necessary upgrades to both pharmacy and prescriber software can be done quickly and electronic prescriptions are expected to be available from the end of May.

Electronic prescriptions are an alternative to paper prescriptions which will allow people convenient access to their medicines and will lessen the risk of infection being spread in general practice waiting rooms and at community pharmacies.

Quick links

Information for prescribers 

Information for dispensers


The solution being fast-tracked will see a unique QR barcode known as a “token” sent via an app (if you have one), SMS or email. The token will be sent to you from your doctor, which is then presented or sent to a pharmacy, to supply your medication.

The token will be scanned by your pharmacist as a key to unlock the electronic prescription from an encrypted and secure electronic prescription delivery service.

If you have any repeats of a prescription, a new token will be sent to you when the prescription is dispensed. You will need to keep the token to send to your pharmacy when you need to get the repeat filled.

Active Script List

By the end of this year, more functionality will be available and in addition to the token, there will also be an option for your pharmacy to have a list of your active prescriptions in their software, so you don’t have to forward it on.

To get your medicines you will need to prove your identity to the pharmacist and provide consent for the pharmacist to view your prescriptions.

Steps to take in preparation for using an electronic prescription

  • Ensure your address, email address and mobile number are up to date with your doctor and pharmacy.
  • Check that your pharmacy can take an electronic prescription and are delivering medicines.

Your GP at PartridgeGP

Your Pharmacist at Bayside Village Pharmacy

Typhoid Mary and COVID Colin

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Typhoid Mary was a cook who moved from one rich employer to another in New York and Long Island, infecting seven households with typhoid between 1900 and 1907 before doctors traced her as the common cause of the infections. The key point is that she was in good health herself throughout. When confronted, she indignantly refused to submit stool samples for analysis, until eventually imprisoned for this refusal.

After three years she was released while promising not to work as a cook. Unhappy with the low wages of a laundress, she changed her name, resumed cooking and resumed causing typhoid. After a 1915 outbreak in a hospital for women in which 25 people fell ill and two died, Mary Mallon/Brown was again arrested and kept in quarantine for the rest of her life, refusing to have her gall bladder removed. When she died in 1938, an autopsy revealed a thriving colony of typhoid bacteria in her gall bladder. For some genetic reason they had not caused any symptoms in her.


What is the current understanding of the ability to return to work and risk of reinfection/further complications for clinicians who have recovered from COVID-19?
The department will determine when a confirmed case no longer requires to be isolated in hospital or in their own home, in consultation with the treating clinician. This will be actively considered when all of the following criteria are met:
• The patient has been afebrile for the previous 72 hours, and
• At least ten days have elapsed after the onset of the acute illness, and
• There has been a noted improvement in symptoms, and
• A risk assessment has been conducted by the department and deemed no further criteria are needed.
Apparent re-infection has been reported in a small number of cases. However, most of these reports describe patients having tested positive within 7-14 days after apparent recovery. Immunological studies indicate that patients recovering from COVID-19 mount a strong antibody response. It is likely that positive tests soon after recovery represent persisting excretion of viral RNA, and it should be noted that PCR tests cannot distinguish between “live” virus and noninfective RNA.
For further information, go to the department’s website and see Advice for clinicians / epidemiology!

Stay home | Save lives

Now, if you really really must leave home…

Flu Vaccine

Coronavirus 101 | PartridgeGP

The pandemic is here. This is what we can all do:

Watch a short video!

Wash your hands! Soap and water and 20 seconds if you can, alcohol hand sanitiser is second best.

Don’t touch your face! Dr George Forgan-Smith demonstrates in the short video at the link…and goes further with…

Social distancing. Try and stay 1-1.5m away from people. Don’t hug, kiss, shake hands…and DON’T do group meetings / big gatherings. These will soon be cancelled (Monday, if over 500 people) but really, it starts with you!

Dr George demonstrating cough etiquette and social distancing!

Cough into your elbow and clean your phone! Both of these will limit spread of those little virus particles!

Now that you’ve cleaned your phone, and are practicing your social distancing, USE the phone. Telehealth is here via your phone, no special equipment needed.


Great advice if you’re unwell, good advice just for day to day. Call PartridgeGP on 08 82953200 for a phone appointment!

So remember

Wash Your Hands

Wash. Your. Hands.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Social Distancing

Social distancing works

Clean Your Phone

Use Your Phone

Stay Safe and Good Luck!

Some more videos and links below:

What is Your GP trying to do about this?

What about kids and schools?

What about the elderly?

What about my specialist appointment?

Thanks to:

Dr George Forgan-Smith

Dr Todd Cameron

Dr Chien-Wen Liew

Dr Sachin Patel

And please share this to all your friends and family

Coronavirus Help Desk – Partridge GP (update with Repat drive through clinic info)

We find ourselves at the start of a seeming pandemic.


Coronavirus – latest government info – CLICK HERE


If unwell with cough/cold symptoms, stay home and use the phone


CALL coronavirus hotline 1800 020 080

free advice, home testing after doctor advice

CALL healthdirect 1800 022 222

free advice


If further advice needed


CALL PartridgeGP 0882953200

phone consult, private fee, no Medicare rebate



Flinders Medical Centre

Lyell McEwin Hospital

coronavirus clinics

free, can see and/or swab


updated re the Repat drive through clinic


Accessing the Repat Collection Centre:

Patients must be booked into this service to ensure a controlled flow

Bookings are to be made by the practice by ringing 8222 3000

The practice is to advise patient of date and time of booking

Fax the request form to SA Pathology on 7117 5085

The service is available between 8.00 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday

Access is via Gate 4, 216 Daws Road, then follow the signs

Please ask patients to remain in their car and the SA Pathology staff will come to them

Instruct the patient to remain in isolation until the results have been communicated to them by you (their GP)


The Royal Adelaide Hospital

7 days a week 0900-2000 – walk in, just follow the signs!

Royal Adelaide Clinic Location HERE

NEW Southern Suburbs Coronavirus Priority Care Clinic

 453 Morphett Rd, Oaklands Park 7 days a week, walk in 1000-2000


How Do I Self-Isolate- click HERE!









Drive through COVID in Victoria!

Oh…you thought I meant testing!

I meant THIS




In other news

We find ourselves at the start of a seeming pandemic.


In addition to the medical risks to themselves, their friends and families, and their patients, GPs have to consider the risks to their livelihood and practices.

We can’t help our patients if we are ill.

We can’t help our patients if our practices are closed.

We can’t help our patients if we are isolated at home.

There may be solutions. One, from Dr Todd Cameron and Dr Sachin B Patel, is outlined in the following videos.


1. GPs to instigate protocols in the way they see patients

2. GPs to alter the things they need to see patients face to face for

3. GP Practices to support the GPs who pay them to do so

4. Use telehealth and have MBS item numbers 23/36 cover this in this time of need

The videos are here


And here


So what can you do as a GP to make these things happen?

Stephen Covey talks about a circle of influence and a circle of concern. Your circle of influence should be larger than your circle of concern or you just worry about things you can’t change. Let’s go further and consider a circle of impact.

Where can you apply your time and skills to make a change?

Here it is.

Join the AMA.

They have about 6000 GP members (my guesstimate). You can join for a monthly fee of somewhere between $15-130 a month as a GP or registrar. You don’t have to join the AMA – it is entirely voluntary. You can leave at any time, and take your money with you.

So join.

On your application, quite clearly state why you are joining and that this is THE thing you would like the AMA to make an impact on. The AMA have access to the politicians. From your membership to their ears.

Watch the videos.

Make your decision.


Take action.

Make a difference.

Good luck!