Testimonial by Dr Adrian Lee
January 2011 to January 2012
January 2013 to July 2013
I worked as first a basic then an advanced GP registrar at Collie River Valley Medical Centre from January 2011 to January 2012 under the supervision of Dr Peter Wutchak.
Located at the centre of the town, the practice consists of seven consult rooms, a nursing station that includes three emergency bays and one procedure room, a large reception and waiting area, and a tea room. The building itself was very neat and clean and I found the running of the practice very organised. Consults normally started at 9am, with the last patient booked in at 5pm. These was also an hour lunch break in between. I was given my own very spacious room as well as the freedom to customize and decorate it as I saw fit. The only medical equipment I had to acquire for my own was a stethoscope, an ophthalmoscope and an auroscope. The practice allowed me to borrow most other gadgets even including a fine dermascope.
One of the most attractive aspects of the practice was that I was given free rein on how to manage my patients, although Peter and the other two practice partners Dr Jan Van Vollenstee and Dr Saumitra Seal were always happy to assist and provide advice should I ever request it. The nursing staff also proved to be very helpful particularly in wound management and dressings, in addition to offering their support in running health assessments, vaccination programs and doing certain blood test. The practice employed a very simple, yet highly efficient patient recall system in conjunction with checking investigation results, which were done mostly electronically. This prevented any patients from slipping through the safety net. I also found the receptionist staff very kind and pleasant, as they were never less than keen to help should I run into any problem with patient bookings, appointments and referrals.
Another quality of the practice which I felt should not go unmentioned was its impressive effort in ensuring that its registrar was properly looked after. The practice manager Angela took care of paying my rent and bills (deducted from my salary of course), as well as dealing with Medicare and WAGPET any paper that concerned me. She also tried her best to accommodate my requests when arranging the after-hours on-call roster. The practice provided me with a fully furnished, detached house with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and a very large courtyard situated within a peaceful neighbourhood. Peter made arrangements to look after my gardening and to make sure my unit was properly cleaned before I moved in. Whenever I was on-call, the practice always made sure one of Peter, Jan or Saumitra was available in case I encounter any problem after hours.
I shared an on-call roster that ranged from 1-in-4 to 1-in-7 depending on the number of doctors available in the practice. The on-call doctor was responsible for attending same day appointments in the practice, as well as patients presenting to the casualty department in Collie District Hospital. The hospital itself contained a general and a maternity ward, and as a registrar I was given admitting rights. After hours work was at times very busy, but with the support of the supervisors it proved to be a useful learning experience and provided an extra dimension to regular GP work.
Colie is a country town with a population of 10,000. Although its populace came from various trades, the mining industry formed a very important aspect of its income and had a big impact of its people’s lives. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Collie’s populace had a very friendly and tight social environment, and the work of its doctors was highly appreciated by its community.
In summary, Collie was a nice place to work as a rural GP. I felt very welcomed when I first arrived, and slightly sad when I had to leave. The practice emphasized on team work, and truly made the phrase “you’ll never walk alone” come to life.