GREAT CARE: Dr Emily McCallum gives Dr Simon Barnett a flu injection at Healthy Focus Medical Centre.
GREAT CARE: Dr Emily McCallum gives Dr Simon Barnett a flu injection at Healthy Focus Medical Centre. Rob Williams

GP numbers in good health as new doctors join practice

TWO new faces have joined the team at a local medical centre as it continues to expand.

Healthy Focus Medical Centre has welcomed doctors Emily McCallum and Simon Barnett.

They join practice owner Dr Brendan Thompson at the burgeoning practice.

Dr Thompson said he was delighted to welcome both Simon and Emily to the practice.

"They bring enthusiasm and experience as well as a genuine interest in the patient and that is what we are all about," Dr Thompson said.

Dr Simon Barnett brings a wealth of experience and teaches doctors.

He is actively involved with General Practice Training Queensland (GPTQ) through the Toowoomba office.

"I am currently working in the practice two days a week and otherwise engaged in my work with GPTQ," he said.

"I have started to look at retiring and this combination is perfect. I have a lot of elderly Ipswich patients and this allows me to continue to care for them. It is good to get into a good practice."

He is Ipswich born and bred and like Dr Thompson wants to give back to the city.

Dr Barnett practised medicine in Brookwater for the past three years.

"The GP is at the frontline of health care and is the most cost effective way of caring for patients. It also reduces hospital waiting time."

The newest member of the team, Dr McCallum, has just finished her first three weeks and is enjoying the patient focus of the practice.

"It is a great team to work with, it is the patient first," she said.

Dr McCallum went to school locally and is a local resident. She undertook her hospital residency at Ipswich General Hospital as a junior medical officer and undertook further study following her interests in paediatrics at the Children's Hospital at West Mead, in the western suburbs of Sydney.

"I find being in general practice really rewarding. It is nice to help people over different ages. I am currently here three days a week for now," Dr McCallum said.

With the flu season upon us, Dr McCallum said immunisation was important.

"The flu season last year was severe, and this year is expected to be the same," she said.

"It is recommended that the general population get the injection but importantly those at risk, those over 65, people with with chronic illness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in certain age ranges and women who are pregnant."

This year the at-risk group can have the flu vaccination free of charge, medical centres usually have stock, or a general practitioner will provide a prescription.

"I am providing mentoring to both Brendan and Emily and they are both fine Doctors," Dr Barnett said.

"The practice values the patient and operates with a mixed billing arrangement.

"It is is important because we have people who are doing it tough."

Dr Barnett said that the focus has to be on preventative as well as curative medicine.

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