Dr Michael Clements


Chair, RACGP Rural Council

Dr Michael ClementsDr Michael Clements is an experienced Townsville based General Practitioner and practice owner with a background in health leadership and clinical and corporate governance. Dr Clements has accrued a wide variety of skills and special interests in his time with the Royal Australian Air Force and then with QLD Health as Director of Medical Services at Ingham Hospital before opening his private practices in Townsville while concurrently working for the QLD Rural Generalist Training Pathway as an advisor. Having worked in rural, remote and overseas clinical environments during and after his fellowship training Michael now gets his ‘rural fix’ by flying himself and other clinicians to remote towns in the Gulf of Carpentaria delivering GP clinics. Clinical interests include veterans’ health, mental health, chronic disease and palliative care.
 


Find out more about Dr Michael Clements below


I thrive on variety and my clinical load includes work. At my general practices, remote clinics that we  regularly conduct and work in the local private emergency department in Townsville. Governance and advocacy are also important parts to my working week and I have roles with RACGP QLD Council in addition to the rural council, plus AMA QLD and I hold a Chair role on a local not-for profit company, NAPHL. I also work for QLD Health Rural Generalist Pathway in a part time capacity as a trainee advisor, helping mentor and guide junior doctors towards a career in rural generalism. Variety is what keeps me going!


The ‘General’ in General Practice is what has always attracted me. While I have work in the military for some time, dabbled in full time administration and now work in corporate and clinical work I find General Practice is the only medical speciality that allows us to choose our own adventure, our own path, and create a working environment around us that energises and rewards us for our passion.


Since medical school I sought out rural and remote placements, and all of my GP training has been conducted in rural and remote environments. Even Townsville isn’t rural so I have sought, and found, work in remote communities that cannot support a GP full time but benefit from our fly-in and fly out service with telehealth. Our own little version of the RFDS GP clinics really.


I have always thrived when being a little out of my comfort zone and needing to make decisions with limited resources and information. Also, as a solo GP in a remote community, or as part of a small team, the capacity that is provided through a GP service really enables a community to grow and prosper and build, and the gratefulness from each patient and each consult is genuine and  refreshing.


I was severely affected as a business owner and as a family by the Townsville floods in 2019. It took me some time to get back to general practice consulting as I wanted to build up my strength and my capacity to help my community. What I hadn’t expected was that my first few days after returning to work were filled by my patients and my community wanting to check in on me, to see how I was going and to see what support they could give. Up till then I had imagined the GP-Community relationship was one-way but in those days after the floods I truly felt the connection that we GPs have with our community.


I am very proud of each of the service that remote, rural and regional GPs provide each day in the their communities, including the sacrifices the GPs make but I also the value they bring to the towns. As a rural council member I hope to represent the interests of some of those practitioners and apply my skills in clinical and corporate governance, and in health management, to further enable and support the work of rural clinicians and those who may reside in urban areas but provide or support rural services.

 


Contact your RACGP Rural Council

racgp.org.au/rural |  1800 636 764 |   rural@racgp.org.au 

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