08 September 2021

Congratulating Tasmanian RACGP Award winners

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is congratulating Launceston’s Dr Toby Gardner for achieving an incredible double sweep of this year’s Tasmanian RACGP awards.

Dr Gardner has been awarded Supervisor of the Year for his outstanding work as an approachable and friendly supervisor in Launceston. In addition to his work as a GP, Dr Gardner is the Northern Supervisor Liaison Officer for GP supervisors in the local area, a senior lecturer in medicine at the University of Tasmania and a long-term examiner for those seeking Fellowship of the RACGP.

He also attends numerous aged care facilities and works as clinical lead in organising the practice’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Gardner’s practice, Newstead Medical, has been awarded Tasmanian General Practice of the Year.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price congratulated the winners.

“The RACGP Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work of GPs like Dr Gardner and their teams in caring for their communities,” she said.

“This year’s winners have truly gone above and beyond for their patients and contributed to the health of their communities, congratulations to you all.”

Dr Gardner said that winning the awards was a tremendous honour.

“Being awarded Supervisor of the Year is something that really brings a smile to my face,” he said.

“You don’t supervise GPs in training for awards, but I appreciate being recognised. I have been a registrar supervisor for 15 years and in that time, I have really enjoyed passing on my insights and expertise.

“Seeing registrars grow in confidence and apply new skills is always rewarding, you know that patients are going to be in safe hands for years to come.

“The pandemic has not been easy for anyone, there is no point shying away from that. Throughout the pandemic, I have led the practice by formulating policies and procedures to maintain safety for staff and patients at the practice.

“Anything you can do to keep people in the loop and reassure them is helpful. So, throughout 2020 I wrote a daily briefing for the practice to keep everyone updated on the latest information as well as a daily meme to keep spirits high.

“Every winter I arrange a mystery bus tour incorporating a few nearby wineries in the Tamar Valley, as well as team-building activities like bowling, croquet and karaoke. Small touches like that to boost morale during an anxious and uncertain time can make a real difference.

“We are currently providing COVID-19 vaccination six days per week and have a very successful car park flu vaccination clinic. For all those who are eligible to be vaccinated and haven’t got around to it yet, I encourage you to do so right away.”

Dr Gardner said that his practice was a deserving winner of the General Practice of the Year Award

“At Newstead Medical we take great pride in what we do so well done to the entire team, you deserve this,” he said.

“Our practice is a highly sought-after training practice for GP registrars and that is exactly what we want. That shows what we are doing is working, people want to stay and care for patients in the local community.”

The Launceston GP said that general practice care was more important than ever.

“The pandemic and challenges associated with the vaccine rollout has made the last 18 months a very trying time for the profession and many of our patients” he said.

“In times like this people need to rely on their usual GP and this award is welcome recognition that we are not only there for our patients but going above and beyond for them.

“We have a full suite of services available, that includes a stand-alone fever clinic, a seminar room for teaching large groups and our IT equipment is state of the art.

“At Newstead Medical, we know that making the entire experience as easy as possible for our patients is key. There is a large amount of free parking on site, the Urgent Care Centre is attached to the back of the practice, and we are co-located with a large pharmacy and services for x-ray, pathology, and podiatry. Almost everything you need to take care of your healthcare is right there in the same spot.

“The Urgent Care Centre is proving a real game-changer for patient care; it is one of a kind in Tasmania and relieves pressure on the local hospital. Instead of having people waiting around in an emergency room, they can have their condition seen to at the UCC.

“It is now open seven days a week and is really valuable during peak tourist times when many people visit North East Tasmania. I think the UCC will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.”

Dr Gardner also said that that practice went that extra mile for those less fortunate.

“We have been a provider of the Launceston Refugee Medical Service for many years and have GPs trained in providing neurodevelopment care to new mothers and babies,” he said.

“I have always found that by going on the front foot, being proactive and having the right systems in place we can help our patients more effectively manage conditions and enhance their wellbeing – they can take charge of their own health and live their best life.

“We have recall systems for regular preventative health activities, engage in health promotion at events like AgFest, educational materials are provided by experienced nurses in multiple languages and nursing staff also carry out regular assessments of multiple aged care patients who are also visited by all of the team’s GPs.”

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. The national RACGP winners will be announced on 20 November this year.

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