GP's Perspective

Hi there.

As proud as I am about what we are achieving at Urapuntja Health Service in terms of the health outcomes, which are some of the highest in all of Northern Territory. It makes a difference when we have one of our leading clinicians step forward and talk about the good things we are doing.

The text below is an excerpt of feedback from one of our GP’s, Dr Bruce Barker, about his experiences at Urapuntja clinic:

‘After finishing with typical General Practice a few months ago, my wife, also an experienced GP, and I decided it was time to explore new options. We have been mutually delighted and enriched by our time working with the excellent staff at Urapuntja Health Service, Utopia. The clinic has been in operation for thirty years, with varied medical support. Their emphasis on outliers, going via 4wd for often long distances, to the remote bush camps, means clinics are run in the shade of gum trees, in a lean to, and in small purpose built clinics in many communities. 

The Indigenous people who make up these communities, our patients, present many challenges; their strength in English varies, their different cultural attitudes to western standards of cleanliness, their utterly different way of seeing the world and what truly matters, and their vulnerability to infectious diseases, are the tip of a veritable iceberg. What has impressed me most? Their physical and moral toughness both as individuals and as a culture, the reflowering of their culture in their abundant, wonderful paintings.

The enormous gap between their health and white Australia is improving, especially in places like Utopia, that have involved health workers and nurses and doctors, and the increasing community emphasis on addressing the primary issues of diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and alcohol. 

The managers at Utopia, Gail and Linda, are a tremendous source of support and information.
The staff are uniformly excellent and have a proactive approach to health care, that fully embraces the Aboriginal communities they support. They are all a delight to work with. It has been a terrific work and life experience hat has rekindled my pleasure in medicine.

I am inspired by the physical attractions of the deep outback which include: the abundance of wild flowers, the sheltered waterholes with their dream time stories, the unbelievably great view of the night sky from our front verandah, the lightning and thunder of outback storms and that liberating sense of limitless space which is impossible at home.’*

If you’re a clinician who is ready for a change of pace and a new experience in remote area medicine, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Linda Keating
Urapuntja Health Service

*text courtesy of Remote Area Health Corps