The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is congratulating Gateway Health Wodonga for winning this year’s Victorian RACGP General Practice of the Year award.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price congratulated this year’s winner.
“The RACGP Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work of GPs and their teams in caring for their communities,” she said.
“Gateway Health have truly gone above and beyond for their patients and contributed to the health of communities in North East Victoria, I cannot think of a more deserved winner.”
The RACGP President said it was timely to celebrate Australia’s GPs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role GPs play in every community,” she said.
“In this challenging environment, GPs, nurses, receptionists and admin workers have been working tirelessly on the frontline and are playing a leading role in the vaccine rollout – protecting patients and communities across the country.
“This is an opportunity to recognise GPs and their teams for their hard work and say thank you.”
Gateway Health’s Dr Sharon Johnson welcomed news of the award.
“Being recognised for all the hard work we have put in at Gateway Health is really appreciated,” she said.
“Gateway Health offers places for registrars as well as extended skills posts in sexual health and refugee health. Something we take great pride is making sure we are there for vulnerable patient groups who sadly may be at risk of stigmatisation and require specialised care. We have two specialist sexual health nurses and a refugee nurse, and we were the first provider of gender-affirming care for gender diverse young people outside of a capital city in Victoria.
“We are also one of the only providers of medical termination of pregnancy in the region. That is vital because we don’t want women requiring a termination to have to travel to a major city to access these services, particularly when you consider some may not have ready access to a car.
“Prior to the border closures, we were also a provider of refugee health assessments for newly arrived refugees, particularly from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Arriving in this part of the world from these countries can prove a real culture shock and I’m keen for these services to resume their normal operations once borders are open again.
“We also provide multidisciplinary services supporting vulnerable members of the community including alcohol and other drug counselling and opioid replacement, specialist family violence services such as a men’s behavioural change program, parenting programs, disability support and much more.”
Dr Johnson said that during the pandemic many of these services became more important than ever.
“We were successful in receiving grant funding to employ new staff members to assist with health promotion for our refugee patients,” she said.
“This included producing videos in Swahili and Kinyarwanda about COVID-19 infection control and information about vaccinations, to make sure that they understood how to keep themselves and their families safe.
“In addition, we offered a room within the practice for patients to conduct telehealth appointments with GPs and specialists. This was really important for those without the required technology or a safe space at home for a confidential medical conversation.
“At Gateway Health, we do not want a single member of our tight knit community to be left behind. We will continue to look for innovative ways to expand and adapt our services to benefit those in need.”
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 award winners will be announced on 20 November this year at our annual clinical conference, GP21.