Dr Elizabeth Hindmarsh

Providing holistic health care

Dr Elizabeth Hindmarsh

The opportunity to address a person’s health holistically is one of the things I like most about being a GP.

I never thought I would become a GP, but after working in a number of different areas of medicine, including family planning and health education, I decided that it would be much more interesting to be looking at people as a whole.

So I did some further study through the family medicine program and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP, where I became a Fellow in 1993.

Since moving into general practice, my career has provided me with many additional opportunities to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of Australians.

Some of the highlights for me include the work I have done with the RACGP around women’s health and abuse and violence.

I spent many years in  practice with other GPs in the western Sydney suburb of Glebe and it was a privilege to be part of the local community.

I have been working in Aboriginal health since 2006. This has involved working with a remote Aboriginal community on Elcho Island in the Northern Territory and in an Aboriginal general practice in Liverpool an outer suburb of Sydney. I think that it is important to ensure that vulnerable people and communities are represented in the RACGP’s advocacy activities. A health policy of access and equity of care for all Australian is crucial to the rights of all Australians I believe.

The opportunity to address a person’s health holistically is one of the things I like most about being a GP.  In reality, what we do in general practice is the thing that is going to make the most difference to people’s long term health.

Having said that, ideally the relationship between a GP and a patient is one where we are working in partnership. Sometimes I say to my patients "I am not going to be there when you want to smoke a cigarette" or "I won’t be there when you’re thinking about what you’re going to eat" or  "I won’t be there when you should be taking your tablets". So it’s important to know that, as a GP, I can help you look after your health, and to motivate you, but there is an important role for you to follow through on a daily basis to ensure we are working together to look after your health.