Jack of all trades

A sponsored post for the Royal Australian College of GPs


When I was a kid our GP was a family friend. That was all good and well until I needed to get a script for the birth control (and I died on his office floor of embarrassment), but I do have such strong memories of the Doctor’s surgery being a place of knowledge, security and comfort throughout my childhood. Needles, vomits in the waiting room, blood tests…and that was just me. With 4 kids in our family, we spent quite some time at the GPs, playing with broken toys and dog eared books and marvelling at the spinning filing systems filled to the brim with the secrets of everyone in our suburb.

My early adult life saw me visiting whichever medical centre I could to get a script for birth control or the odd antibiotic for a bout of tonsillitis or a chest infection. Because I was moving about I rarely stuck with the same person, ducking off in a lunch hour or close to wherever I was living. The relationship changed to purely transactional.

Everything changed the day I saw two lines on a pregnancy test 9 years ago. It’s no longer just about YOU, but a whole other person so having a trusting relationship with a good GP can really make a HUGE difference to your parenting. Whether it’s a reassuring listen to the chest of a wheezy baby or a smiling face as you hold your little one to get a vaccination the role of the GP completely changed for me when I became a Mum.

I’ve spoke to a GP about EVERYTHING from pap smears to lumpy boobs, feeling sad and overwhelmed, skin cancer checks, referrals to surgeons, follow ups from visits to the ER, birth control, blood tests, flu shots…you name it…they’ve heard about it.

The one regret I do have (as we moved about) was not having one person to rely on. Finding that one person you can trust and reply on for yourself and your family really is a game changer.


Since falling pregnant with Maggie last year I have made an effort to stick to the one GP. From that first initial wee on a stick to blood tests, diabetes tests, flu shots, whooping cough boosters and then the first 6 week check up and needles, I try and make appointments ahead of time to make sure we are consistently seeing the same Doctor. Having one person on your health side, knowing all your ins and outs (literally) can be a huge support as a Mum. There’s not much GP’s don’t know or have seen before…they really are specialists in whole medicine having to be knowledgeable in over 22,000 different illnesses as well as each patients history PLUS being coughed on. ALL THE TIME.

The RACGP helps GPs with their professional development as well as setting the industry standards and support for over 90% of GPs in Australia.

Do you see the one GP?
Got a lovely story to share with us about a good Dr?
How many times have you been to the Dr since you had kids? 245? 876?


  1. Ideally I think it would be good to see same doctor. However not long ago I rang up to make an appointment for my daughter, with a doctor I had checked out previously a couple of times ( we were new in the area) . Anyhow closest available appointment a week away. I said she was too sick to wait a week! They fitted her in with another doctor after waiting an hour , and she and ended up in hospital. So needless to say I am on the lookout for a new doctor who isnt fully booked a week in advance! I think GP,s have become merely a transaction now, which is a shame.

  2. Since we moved to the farm, we’ve had a long term GP. The continuity of care has been such a game changer for us (we’d been in the same boat as you up until then, moving around and seeing whichever GP we could get an appointment with). Our GP has stitched Dean’s foot, supported me through a major health scare and nursed my babies during their check ups.
    More than just great health care, it’s been a great introduction for my girls that going to the doctor isn’t a scary thing.

  3. My GP is also my godmother. She delivered both our babies and while Dan swore he would NEVER see her as a GP because…family friend…he now won’t go to anyone else, even when it’s been ackward…vasectomy! Sometimes I’ve had early morning coffee with her (my parents go out to breakfast EVERY morning before work with a big group of friends- as you do) and then we’ve driven to the surgery for needles, meds, Pap smears…should feel weird but she is so UTTERLY professional that it’s like talking to a totally different person the second she walks into the surgery. I adore our GP and so badly need her to never ever retire!

  4. Margaret Jolly says

    I have had the same GP for over 22 years now – and yes this happy event coincided with a move and then pregnancy. She has been by my side through three pregnancies, countless migraines and UTIs, Pap smears and deaths in the family. I will never forget having an appointment to see her the day my grandfather died and I was distraught. She did not rush the appointment and called me a few days later just to see how I was. I will never forget that simple act of kindness. I keep telling her she should charge more for the free counselling.

  5. I’ve had the same GP since we moved to Brisbane when I was 16. He’s a lovely Irish man and is now so popular his new patients are restricted to the progeny of his current patients. I rely on his advice and good humour and he has surrounded himself with a wonderful support team. A good GP is worth their weight in saffron! Lovely post Beth.

  6. I miss the GPs we had in the town we lived in two years ago. They looked after us so well, especially when our daughter had to be flown to Melbourne twice for medical reasons. The level of care we received was exceptional, the management plan that was put in place afterwards with the GP, the local hospital and the ambulance gave us a feeling of security, and comfort. When you live so far away from a big city, you rely heavily on the relationship not just with the GP, but with the hospital and the paramedics. We are indebted to them.

  7. I still fondly remember the GP we had when I was a kid. He made housecalls….frequently to our place…..luckily he was just at the top of our street. I found a brilliant GP when we were doing lots of short term foster care for babies. He knew I had seen enough babies coming into care to recognise a lot of the common complaints so would ask me first what I thought was wrong & then do a full check over. The GP I have now is a really lovely man. He is very patient & we have a joke about my lists, with a rotten memory I always have a list in my bag of scripts needed, questions & stuff & If I am only there for one thing & say no list today he has a huge grin & tells me he misses my lists 🙂 I have had my share of GP’s I would never go back to over the years so really appreciate one I have a good relationship with & trust in.

  8. My GP saved my life in 2007.

    I was suicidal and she reached out to me with not only kindness but also a wholistic approach to becoming well.

    I have referred so many women to her in the intervening years, and every single one of them gushes about her thoroughness and compassion.

    I nominated her for a commendation to the AMA, but never heard back from them. Even the surgery she worked for didn’t let her know that she had been recognised by a patient as such a professional. (She has since moved on to open her own highly successful practice.)

    I let her know in person, but I still would have loved her to have been recognised in a professional capacity from her peers.

    Beth – thanks for opportunity to talk about how amazing my own GP is.

  9. i adore the gp practice we go to. We have one main gp but have seen others there too when we’ve needed an urgent appointment. It’s been so valuable having someone know each of us so well and it saved my husbands life last year. He had flu like symptoms and was very fatigued and so I went to our doctor with him. After going through everything, he just felt that the picture we were presenting didn’t feel right. So rather than just giving some antibiotics and saying come back in a few days he sent my husband for blood cultures. He then called us 2 days later at Sunday lunchtime and told us the lab had found a potentially dangerous bacteria and we needed to go straight to one if the major hospitals as he felt it was important for my husband to be in the care of a specialist team. Our gp kept in touch with me, hassled the hospital doctors as needed and called my husband as soon as he received the discharge fax from the hospital ( on Xmas eve) to check on him and basically reassure him that he was there. He then supported him through his recovery, never making him feel silly for being paranoid about everything for a little while. If we didn’t have this relationship without gp I truly think think could have been very different.

  10. I’m a big fan of having only one doctor and I’ve been very lucky to have some amazing family doctors. I think it makes all the difference. I loved my doctor in London so much, he used to tell me that his oldest patient was into her nineties and so healthy and when he asked her the secret of her good health, she told him she drank a glass of red wine every day! So that’s what he recommended to his patients, what a guy! I bumped into him at a restaurant while I was back in the UK and seeing him was one of the highlights of my trip! I’ve also learned that when you get really sick, you really need a good GP. My doctor was amazing when I got my cancer diagnosis, she helped me with referrals, tests and always had a listening ear.

  11. A good GP is essential. Trust is such a huge part of the doctor/patient relationship. I miss my GP in Sydney, in fact, I have been known to send him the odd email asking for advice as you wouldn’t believe some of the doctor consultations I’ve had here! I could write a book….

  12. supernashwan says

    It is very important to find a GP that will give you the time if you ask, but also be on the ball. I’ve grown up with my father being the GP in very remote areas of Australia where we lived so he was the only guy that could look after me! When I was older and in high school (and in bigger towns that could support a high school!) I finally started going to a GP that wasn’t a family member which was a big shock but something that needed to be done. Now I ended up marrying a specialist so I am covered again on the medical front, but I still find it hard to find a good GPs in Sydney that are available. The one I have for my child is great but works very limited hours. I hope that once I finish moving around I can find someone outside of my family realms to really depend on for my medical needs which unfortunately have become more complicated over time. It is amazing to hear on this thread the trust people openly give their GPs, but remember that they don’t know everything and can be under time constraints, so it is wise to make sure when you go to see one that you ASK QUESTIONS and make sure you have your agenda that you get answers that you understand on. So many times I hear people complain about a lot of GPs but in reality it is because their expectations haven’t been met due to lack of information flow. Keep talking, say every detail, if the GP wants you to stop talking they’ll tell you 😉

  13. Our current G.P is the best! He does a whole joking routine with my son who tends to get very unsure with most Drs and while my son is occupied in playing with lights etc letting the dr shine a light right through this head and see if mummy can see it out the other side kinda thing ( the otoscope) he’s had a through check over wrapped up in play and laughter and goes home happy and assured.

    Also love that my G.P can be keeping my son occupied with a joke and asking me all the questions at the same time.

    He also always remembers to ask my son for consent before he does something like listen to his heart as well as me- other gps we’d seen were pretty rude and ignored my son as if he wasn’t there even though he was the patient and they just did things “at” him iykwim.?!

  14. Our doctor comes to us – aren’t we lucky. Once a month a doctor and nurse fly into the station and hold a clinic here. So handy! Otherwise we can call the RFDS 24/7, have a consult and have that antibiotics in our hands within 3 minutes. How convenient – there has to be some perks to living out here right?!

  15. Our little family sees the same GP that my husband saw as a kid. We drive an hour each way to see her but she’s worth it. A bit kooky but truly listens and respects. Thats what you want from a good Dr.

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