Dr Simon Hosking has been recognised for 30 years of mentoring.
Dr Simon Hosking has been recognised for 30 years of mentoring. Contributed

How local health practice has changed in 30 years

BUNDABERG GP Simon Hosking said he noticed a rise in doctors "practising defensively” in the 30 years that he has held a supervision role.

This week General Practice Supervisors Australia observed the decades that the Aberdovy Clinic GP has spent in mentoring junior doctors.

"It's just the normal part of what doctors do; teaching,” Dr Hosking said.

"One doesn't really give it that much thought.

"I had no idea it had gone on that long to be honest.”

Dr Hosking said there was an increased fear in legal consequences since he began his training role as a GP supervisor.

It burdened GPs and decreased their availability because they were focused on over-treatment to ensure they would not be criticised.

"People go to lawyers and say 'you should have done this, you should have done that,' and they (doctors) like to say 'well I did all these tests, I did every test I could think of'.

"It makes the doctors not as good either, so it's not just dealing with the problems.

"They are dealing with the problems that don't exist to protect themselves, so that's one of the drawbacks of what's happening in that time.

"The legal situation has become out of the control, the same as America, suing doctors in legal action.

"A lot of it goes nowhere but it just wastes doctors' time.”

Last week the Federal Government classified Bundaberg as a place with a medical workforce shortage, meaning that more foreign trained doctors would be encouraged to work locally.

Dr Hosking said it had not made a difference yet, but that it would.

He said that international and Australian trained doctors had different strengths given what they were exposed to in their training.

Internationally trained doctors were good at treatment of infectious disease but not as used to dealing with skin cancer, and it was more likely there was a higher rate in Queensland than from where they were from.

He advised GPs to find a special interest in their profession, or a hobby outside of it, to avoid work being repetitive.

"You won't go stale and get jaded by seeing the same things all the time,” he said.