15 September 2021

Congratulating Victoria's RACGP Award winners

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is congratulating this year’s Victorian RACGP Award winners.

The winners are:

·    Gateway Health in Wodonga has won General Practice of the Year

·    Dr Cheten Mistry has won GP in Training of the Year

·    Dr Hùng Thế Nguyễn in Dandenong has won GP of the Year

·    Peter B. Mitchell of the Cheltenham Medical Centre has won GP Supervisor of the Year.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price congratulated this year’s winners.

“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.

“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 Sharon Johnson, lead GP from Gateway Health Wodonga, welcomed news of the award.

“It is a delight and privilege to be recognised for all of the hard work we have put in at Gateway,” she said.

“We pride ourselves in caring for vulnerable patient groups who may be at risk of stigmatisation and require specialised care.

“We provide services in the areas of sexual health and refugee healthcare, supported by dedicated specialist nurses and we were the first provider of gender-affirming care for gender diverse young people outside of a capital city in Victoria.”

Dr Mistry said that he was humbled to win the GP in Training of the Year award.

“I have gained so much from my training that winning this award is a welcome bonus,” he said.

“Something I have really enjoyed doing in my training is learning new skills, that includes procedures such as suturing, iron infusions and plastering. But it’s also learning from experienced colleagues about consultation skills so that you can provide high quality care to patients.

“The pandemic has proven challenging; however, it has highlighted how adaptable practices can be in times of need. I have used telehealth for many consultations but I have also seen high-risk patients in the isolation room or in the car park to provide care.

“It is an anxious and uncertain time for many people and they look to us for reassurance – general practice has never been more important for our communities.

“I enjoy thinking outside of the box to help people take charge of their own health and wellbeing. I set up a 12 week weight loss program for the clinic so we can track and assess how different strategies are working for each patient. I think being proactive and putting in place programs like that can make a real difference.

“I also enjoy my role with General Practice Registrars Australia, working in an advocacy role for hospital and non-GP doctors looking to join GP training. I am a Future GP Advisor for Victoria and involved with the promotion of GP training and find that work really rewarding. It involves work such as answering queries about training and speaking at webinars.

“I am enjoying the profession, so I like to spread the word to those considering becoming a GP.”

Dr Nguyen from the Dandenong District Aborigines Co-operative Limited (DDACL) Bunurong Health Service (BHS) in Dandenong said that winning the award was welcome recognition.

“I have a long-held commitment to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and the health of people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background,” he said.

“Being a GP is not just about treating conditions that a patient presents with on any given day. It is about ensuring patient health literacy and health systems literacy, and having an impact on people lives through teaching them how to improve their wellbeing.

“I have especially enjoyed community health education projects such as the No Anaemia for Kids project, where we worked with young mothers to improve child nutrition. Currently, we are creating a video game for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literacy, a collaboration with young and older members of our DDACL community.

“I think my work in a number of rural and remote communities and overseas has given me a unique perspective on the work of GPs, I have been particularly inspired to apply primary health care tools in less privileged communities.

“The pandemic has presented difficulties but as GPs we must do what we can. I have worked on programs to help communities address vaccine hesitancy and, when possible, with our team at BHS held community engagement activities  at community forums in person and online.

“I don’t think of myself so much as a GP, but also as a social worker with a strong passion for helping disadvantaged communities.”

Dr Mitchell said that winning the award was most welcome.

“This good news has lifted my spirits in these challenging times and I’m sure it will lift the whole practice’s morale as well,” he said.

“As a supervisor you have a special responsibility because you can directly impact the development of the GPs of the future.

“I believe that going above and beyond makes a real difference. So I make a concerted effort to point out symptoms or signs in patients that may not be obvious, make myself available to be contacted even when busy and take that time to answer questions and review patients.

“Training is not just about the standard dedicated teaching time per week, I think it’s vital to go that extra mile and share knowledge that can only be gained through experience rather than a textbook – things like counselling patients and deftly managing mental health concerns.”

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

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor