Another GP bites the dust

3 minute read

She’s packing her bags for Sub-Specialty Land, leaving this loyal patient in search of yet another GP.

Your Back Page scribbler is gutted, readers. Not just gutted, genuinely in mourning for a cherished relationship. 

This morning my regular GP told me she’s leaving. 

Not just moving clinics – God knows, I’ve followed her through two maternity leaves and a change of venue before now. She’s leaving general practice. 

At least, she’s leaving general general practice and moving to her true love, specialising in women’s reproductive and sexual health – “office gynaecology”, as she called it. 

GP, she said, was a hard gig – a statement that won’t come as a surprise to any of you, readers. We’ve spoken often of the plight of GPs, given she knows what I do for a living. So she’s going where her heart lies, and where, I suspect, the lifestyle and paycheque may be a little more conducive to a family life. 

I wish her all the best, but do I hate her guts right now? Yeah, I do. Because I have to start that painful journey – again! – of finding a quality GP with whom I can establish a rapport and the level of trust I need to feel confident in the care I need. 

I’ve been fortunate to have had a long succession of truly excellent female GPs over the past 20 years. Dr J in Brisbane, whom I still saw even after I moved to the Gold Coast and even when she then moved west to Laidley; the redoubtable and celebrated Dr Linda Mann in Sydney’s inner west; Dr S down in bayside Melbourne; and now Dr W up here in Toowoomba. 

She and I met by accident when my then-regular GP got caught in the UK during the months-long covid locky-d.  

Since then we’ve seen each other every couple of months, usually just for a chat and repeat scripts, but she also saw me through surgeries, both routine and major, my father’s death and my mum’s ongoing dementia. 

She had a little tear in her eye this morning, knowing how many patients she has to say goodbye to over the next couple of months. It’s easy for patients to forget that for every special bond we might feel for one doctor, that doctor has many special bonds with many patients. 

I’m happy for her, genuinely. Happy knowing that she’s following her passion and expertise. And happy knowing that if ever my menopause gets the better of me, I’ll know where to go. 

But I’m sad too that another GP is lost to the system that can’t, or won’t, remunerate its hardest workers enough, or be flexible enough, or be resourced enough, to keep them in the profession.  

At least Dr W isn’t lost to it completely. She’ll be doing good work for a smaller cohort of patients, that’s all. 


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