By Tate Papworth
What’s your connection to Brimbank?
I’ve been a local GP here since January. It’s been a really good experience. It’s a bit different than other areas I’ve worked, but mainly for the better.
What do you like most?
I really like the vibe here. I love the relaxed atmosphere here. I find the people out here are more easy going. I also really like the diversity of the population.
What could be done better?
I think screening for things like bowel cancer, breast screening and cervical cancer could be done a whole lot more. I also think mental health awareness is something that needs to be spoken about more.
Is a lack of awareness with mental health issues something you’ve picked up on in Brimbank?
I don’t know if there’s stigma towards it or if people just aren’t aware of the services out there which can help. When I was working in Shepparton, a lot of people used to take advantage of mental health plans, but here not a lot of people are taking advantage of them. If you probe people here they’ll talk about it, but they’re not at a stage where they’ll seek help.
What’s the biggest issue facing GP’s in Brimbank?
We have a lot more people out here on health care cards and services like that. There’s challenges that arise from that because things like an MRI aren’t covered. A lot of people might not be able to afford things like that, so it can be a challenge to adapt around that. You end up becoming a lot more efficient in diagnosing things and utilising alternate scans and options.
And what about cancer screening challenges?
Things like the national bowel cancer test is something not being utilised. There’s a bit of resistance there. We spend a lot of time pushing our patients to do those tests, but when you talk about things like bowel screening, people become a bit hesitant. We’re really trying to promote education in that area.