A day to love your doctor

19th May 2017 7:32 AM
SERVING THE COMMUNITY: Dr Louise Clarke, co-owner of the Condamine Medical Centre, strives to provide continued care to patients at the practice. SERVING THE COMMUNITY: Dr Louise Clarke, co-owner of the Condamine Medical Centre, strives to provide continued care to patients at the practice. Sophie Lester

CONTINUATION of care for Warwick patients is a key priority for Dr Louise Clarke.

World Family Doctor Day today recognises the central role of GPs in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for patients.

As co-owner of the Condamine Medical Centre, Dr Clarke said it was a continual goal to retain doctors at the practice.

"We are a training practice so it's an ongoing challenge to get trainee doctors to stay on,” she said.

"It is unfortunate that the nature of the training programs often make younger doctors move on to a different clinic, it means we have a very low retention rate.

"Patients don't like it when young doctors have to move on once they've developed a rapport with them.

"If a patient isn't able to see the same doctor all the time it means there's not the continuity of care there that they really appreciate.”

After studying in England, Dr Clarke started practising medicine in Warwick in 1995 and was one of the first doctors to work at the Condamine Medical Centre when it opened in 2002.

"The medical centre formed from an amalgamation of three practices in town,” she said.

"Being a GP is perfect for me because I had wanted to study medicine since I was 16 and considered doing psychiatry as a career.

"I realised I had a love of all different areas in medicine like women's health and chronic care.

"Getting to do psychology consultations is still a favourite part of my day and I get that enough that I'm happy and also get to do lots of other things.”

Despite the struggles of getting doctors to stay at the Medical Centre, Dr Clarke said she was grateful for the loyalty of her patients.

"I have plenty of patients I have seen many, many years, but I also see a lot of new patients,” she said.

"A really big thing for us is having patient loyalty and for me, I am grateful to have those patients that have seen me through having my three kids and I am able to look after them.

"While it's theoretically nice to have a day like World Family Doctor Day assigned to us I think we do get a lot of recognition from our regular patients.

"I think that's the nature of running a practice in a small town like Warwick is that we are recognised as an integral part of the town and its social fabric.”