GPs have the opportunity to be recognised for outstanding care in this year’s Australian Patients’ Association Awards.
The accolade for Most Outstanding General Practitioner, sponsored by the RACGP, highlights excellent diagnosis and treatment skills, ready availability, care and empathy, and strong interpersonal skills.
The independent, not-for-profit Australian Patients Association (APA) operates the awards to generate and reward excellence.
The APA’s General Manager Jas Streten told newsGP that the role of GPs is among the most important in the health system and deserves to be recognised for that status.
‘General practitioners are one of the most important medical professionals – and certainly primary care professionals – that patients have a relationship with,’ he said.
‘They are really key to the health system and patients managing or controlling their health. So it’s important they’re actually recognised for the role that they play in the health system, and ultimately the patients they care for.’
Mr Streten said the nominations stem from patient experiences with their family doctor, which could have a massive impact on their health and their life more broadly.
‘A good GP is someone who is able to help the patient in managing their health – not telling them how to manage it, but helping them manage it,’ he said.
‘They are someone who will provide choices and assist them to coordinate and provide direction to help them navigate the health system, which is incredibly complicated.
‘The GPs are the first port of call to help them manage that system.’
Victorian GP Dr Donald Lewis was awarded the honour in 2019. Mr Streten said Dr Lewis, who has passed away since receiving the award, was ‘incredibly thankful for the acknowledgement’ of his outstanding care for patients.
Other past winners include Dr Richard Schloeffel in 2018 and Dr Elaine Owen in 2017. There were no awards in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Criteria for the awards include sound technical skills, being highly competent and knowledgeable using evidence-based practice, and an ability to remain calm and proficient under pressure.
GPs’ ability to be easy to contact is also a factor, with regular hours and effective contact and communication. Care, sincerity and empathy are also important.
A significant criterion is the GP’s interpersonal and listening skills, and acknowledged respect and reputation.
‘Often health professionals aren’t recognised outside their profession,’ he said.
‘They actually deliver care to people to manage their health and make a real difference in in their lives. It can affect how they live their lives, how productive they are, their quality of life and, in some ways, who they are as a person.
‘Patients acknowledging the care they’ve got validates the service that the health professional provides.’
The APA also gives awards to outstanding carers, hospitals and pharmacists. Mr Streten said awards and recognition are important to promote quality and boost the healthcare system overall.
‘Recognising excellence is a way of making changes in the health system, as well as acknowledging the time, effort and lengths that healthcare professionals go to in order to deliver the care to make a difference to how you live your life,’ he said.
Nominations for the Most Oustanding General Practitioner Award can be made here.
Article by Rosanne Barrett published in newsGP on the 30th April 2021. To view the original article click here.