GP Communique – September 2021

by Dr Leeann Carr-Brown

General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) Director and General Practice Registrar

Foreward by Dr Kat McLean (GPGC Board Chair)

Over the next few issues of GP communique we are taking the opportunity to introduce our GPGC board, why we do what we do, and opportunities for local GPs to become involved and link in with the organisation. This month I am going to hand over to Dr Leeann Carr-Brown who will provide an update on changes that have occurred within GPGC in the context of the pandemic, soon to launch website, and tell you a little bit about herself.

The last two years have been ones of upheaval and change – and no, I am not talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, I am talking about GPGC. For GPGC, it was a case of adapt or die – natural selection for GP support organisations. For those not familiar with the history, GPGC evolved from the old Gold Coast Division of General Practice in the early 2000s and inherited its independent funds. Since then, GPGC has largely survived on the interest of its investments, but in the current environment of vanishingly low interest rates, this is no longer possible.

Change has been necessary including the diversification of funding sources and cost cutting to allow long term sustainability and a leaner, kinder (not meaner) GPGC. GPGC needed dragging into the information age, including updating the website, connecting local GPs electronically and streamlining the administration. The task is not yet finished but so far, we now have over 400 local GPs connected on our GPGC members Facebook page where there is plenty of information sharing and discussion going on. In a bid to fulfill our charter to provide support to Gold Coast GPs to help them care for patients, we are creating a soon-to-launch website linking patients with doctors and doctors with doctors. The goal is that it will assist our members to market their practices, help hospitals connect orphan patients with the most suitable GP and allow cross referrals between GPs for niche services. Additionally we hope it will attract sponsorship to help the financial sustainability of GPGC.

Our educational events have been popular with both members and sponsors as have the networking events attracting record attendance. These events have given local GPs the opportunity to feel heard by the larger Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service and Gold Coast Primary Health Network. Board meetings are now conducted via zoom, reducing costs.

GPGC is eternally grateful for the years of devoted work from our support staff, Elaine Crawt, Diane Jones and Trish McDonald, who retired at the advent of the pandemic. The transition allowed the restructuring to a more slimline organisation.

At our recent strategic planning meeting we fleshed out ideas for events to connect and support members over the coming year including a joint meeting with the Gold Coast Medical Association with Queensland CHO Dr Jeannette Young as speaker, a pre-Christmas social event with an update on the coming alternative COVID-19 vaccines and early in the New Year a business of medicine event. We hope to have a 2022 AGM event with a round table progressive dinner with a range of medical leaders – another opportunity to be heard.

Our hope is to create a connected medical community where everyone can feel supported and a GPGC that is sustainable in the long term and adds value for its members. Sign up. Get connected and be part of a great community.

If you are a GP in the Gold Coast/Tweed region and are not already a General Practice Gold Coast member, then email us:

Kind regards,
Dr Leeann Carr-Brown