The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has congratulated Dr Jim Berryman on winning the national RACGP GP Supervisor of the Year award.
His practice, the Saunders Street Clinic in Wynyard, also won the RACGP General Practice of the Year award from a list of strong contenders.
The twin awards, announced at this year’s GP20 national conference, cap an extraordinary year for Dr Berryman and his innovative practice.
RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda today congratulated the Saunders Street Clinic and Dr Berryman.
“It is not surprising that the Saunders Street Clinic and Dr Berryman have won these national awards after winning the Tasmanian RACGP awards just a few months ago,” he said.
“Dr Berryman has done some extraordinary work building the Saunders Street Clinic from the ground up. It is a state-of-the-art practice that goes that extra mile for patients.
“Starting from one doctor and a nurse it has grown to become a team of 10 doctors and an allied health team closely integrated with the wider community.
“There is a reason that registrars speak so highly of Dr Berryman and always want to come back to learn more from him at his Wynyard practice. Under this supervision students are never just passive observers waiting and watching, they are made to feel valued and part of the process.
“He not only provides his patients with superior care but also ensures that general practice staff, GPs, nurses, receptionists and administrative workers take good care of themselves.
“As a rural GP myself based in Wagga Wagga, I know how rewarding such a career can be. I would encourage all future doctors to look at the example set by Dr Berryman and consider training and working as a GP outside of a major city.”
Dr Berryman said that he was humbled to win the national award.
“Receiving the Tasmanian RACGP Awards was a great honour and now receiving these national awards is wonderful news,” he said.
“I moved to Australia from New Zealand more than two decades ago searching for a sea change and something different. I found myself in the North-West and have never looked back.
“What the team and I have tried to do is create a different kind of clinic environment where patients feel comfortable. So we have an open fire and all different types of furniture and there no posters about illness or sterile, white walls or anything like that.
“We even have a dog-friendly outdoor area because many people feel that little bit more relaxed when they have their little friend by their side.
“These aren’t just design decisions, it improves healthcare outcomes for the entire community. As GPs we want our patients to go see their doctor if they need to. That is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic when patients have been understandably anxious to consult with their GP.
“So we have been very mindful of doing everything we can to create a welcoming environment that brings a smile to the face of people when they walk inside.
“It is such a pleasant place it acts as a type of community centre. That is beneficial for everyone but I think it’s particularly important for older people who may not have a lot of social contact or interaction in their day to day lives.
“When it comes to patient care, we should not just focus on the clinical treatment of people when health problems emerge. It’s more productive to look at healthcare differently, to treat people holistically and in a caring way. I am lucky to have an incredible team around me, we have worked so hard together to make this workplace what it is.
“Associate Professor Shenouda is exactly right in saying how wonderful a career as a rural GP can be. The community is so welcoming and patients value what you do from day one.
“I see all types of patients and medical issues every day so I have to draw on a varied skill set and understanding of many health problems. It is challenging but incredibly fulfilling and I strongly encourage future doctors to consider giving a career in rural general practice a red hot go.”
The RACGP Awards recognise the value of GPs in our community, celebrating the achievements of exceptional individuals who go above and beyond to care for their patients.