Nonsense (the good kind) galore at WONCA

3 minute read

What is life if not a little silly?

The international general practice community has decreed: stuffiness is out, silliness is most definitely in. 

This year’s World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) festival – pardon, conference – was an absolutely wild ride, from 4000-person karaoke to a Woncalicious assortment of sweet treats, from headline music acts to AI-generated hunks.  

The works. 

Some key takeaways you would do well to remember … 

1. You too can become “a relaxed, tanned general practitioner enjoying a conversation with patients … with no white coat”. See this art bot-generated vision, courtesy of Dr Michael Axtens, for inspiration:  

We’re not convinced the AI understood the prompt.

More on Dr Axtens’ insightful talk on emerging models of practice to come later this week. 

2. If you ever find yourself in a position of power, never, I repeat NEVER put your head through one of those picture hole things you put your head through.  

The resulting imagery WILL haunt you forever.  

This advice was shared during Sunday’s keynote address, alongside an image of former WONCA President Karen Price as a koala. 

This Back Pager was unfortunately too slow off the mark to snap a pic, so – taking our cue from Dr Axtens – we tried to deploy the powers of AI to recreate it. We in no way succeeded, but the attempt was made with love.  

Former WONCA and RACGP president Adjunct Professor Karen Price as a koala. 

More marsupial-themed content courtesy of Dr Craig Hilton aka Jenner, creator of Doc Rat: 

3. Karaoke is good for one and all, especially doctors.  

See below double-blind, randomised, controlled, peer-reviewed, steadfast, unequivocal PROOF as presented during the morning tea festivities by a group of doctors who meet weekly to blow off a bit of steam. 

The Back Page hopes you can’t hear us … 

4. Those who enjoy the idea of giving the government some sh*t, you’re in luck!  

There was one admin task more people than ever ticked off their list during the pandemic, according to Professor Michael Kidd in his keynote speech: sending their faecal screening samples in. 

“The Australian government is very generous,” he said.  

“In Australia when you turn 50, you get a gift from the government. You get a bowel cancer screening kit in the mail and every two years on your birthday you get another one, and another one. 

“And then you get to send a little gift back to the government! 

“So that I’m really glad to say that that went up and we picked up hundreds more people with bowel cancer than we would have expected it to pick up if it wasn’t for the pandemic.” 

5. Last but not least, there’s nothing better than an informative thingmajig. 

The diamond study’s handy doovalacky:

Other highlights included, but were not limited to: Mark Butler beaming in from the moon, a man practising his whipcracking skills outside the ICC, and some of the best fresh donuts this Back Pager ever did see. 

Health Minister Mark Butler was actually in WA, not an uncanny CGI ACT.

We hope all the delegates had a wonderful time.

Send your karaoke videos, terrible AI art and story tips to 

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