Wednesday, 15 April 2020 11:45

Flu Clinics (2020)

Our recent after hours flu clinics held over the weekend proved a hit with hundreds of older patients taking the opportunity to get a flu shot before the flu season arrives. This was a new initiative by Busselton Medical Practice to protect older people from exposure to disease.

The last 3 weeks, for us all, has been filled with making and adjusting to change. Each day has brought new problems, compromises and frustrations to our ways of working and living.

The way we deliver health care in General Practice has been overhauled to help contain the spread of CoVID-19 while still being able to provide as close to usual care of our patients as we can. We have rushed to adjust to this and now can draw breath to reflect and refine our processes.

Wednesday, 04 March 2020 09:29



It is apparent that in the coming weeks the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China will spread to Australia to a significant degree. The television footage of Chinese health workers head to toe in protective suits, together with many questions yet to be answered about the virus and its health effects, has led to high levels of community anxiety. So, what should we all be doing in Busselton?

Monday, 16 December 2019 11:23

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke

With the hot weather upon us it is time to consider the effects of high temperatures upon our health. The most dangerous of all these conditions is termed heat stroke. But what is it exactly?

Why do I need a referral to see the Specialist?

It seems such a hassle to get a referral before seeing a specialist. There’ s making an appointment to see your GP first, then the waiting to see them and then the cost of the visit to get the referral. And you still have all that to do for the specialist again!

Tuesday, 23 July 2019 12:45

I have just got to get to sleep!

I have just got to get to sleep!

One third of a healthy person’s life on average will be spent asleep. It’s a good thing to for as Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth:

Thursday, 30 May 2019 13:24

Colds and Antibiotics

Colds and Antibiotics: Rarely a Good Combination

One of the commonest reasons people visit the doctor over winter is for a respiratory illness with symptoms such as a sore throat, hoarseness, runny nose, sneezing, fever or a cough. Their reasons for seeking medical help are varied.

Monday, 06 May 2019 11:31

Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll

If only it was sex, drugs and rock and roll: the Modern Dilemma.

Mental health disorders are common in children and adolescents. As GPs we see an increasing number of teenagers with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

 It is a good thing that these young people present for help and recent mental health promotion and increasing recognition and acceptance of these illnesses has helped make it easier for people to seek help.

Monday, 11 March 2019 11:02

Whose Taken My Bloody Car Keys?

So you can’t find your car keys again. You storm about the house flinging out the odd accusation that some one must have shifted them. There is a lot of eye rolling going on in those watching the performance.

After you calm down you suddenly remember, “Ah that’s right! I left them next to my bed when I came in late last night.” 

Monday, 11 February 2019 08:28


In the 17th Century cutting edge medical advice to cure your warts was to:

“ Wash your hands in moonbeams in an otherwise empty well polished silver basin.”

And sometimes it worked! Then again so did spitting on your wart and rubbing it three times in the direction of a passing funeral.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 08:00

Thinking About Going Gluten Free

Many of us will remember a time when the words “Gluten Free” were a rare occurrence in the supermarkets, restaurants and dinner parties of Australia and most likely only of interest for an unfortunate group of people who knew they had Coeliac Disease. Now it would be unusual not to know someone who claims to be gluten intolerant. A national survey in 2015 reported that 7.3% of us (excluding those with proven or suspected Coeliac Disease) reported adverse effects associated with gluten ingestion. Why the change?

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 08:20

Looking Your Age?

For most of us the earliest and obvious sign of getting old appears when we look in the mirror. Our skin is the first to give the game away. The lines about our eyes, the brown spots that weren’t always there and the uncalled for sagging beneath our chin betray the pitiless hand of Father Time.

Monday, 05 November 2018 09:58

Is It Safe To Exercise

We know that for virtually everybody some form of exercise is beneficial no matter what your age and health. If exercise were a pill it would have greater general benefits than all of the medicines we use.

There are many barriers to people making use of the miracles of exercise. One of these is whether the type of exercise they would like to do is safe for them? When we are young and healthy we rarely give this a thought but as we enter into middle age or experience various health issues, doubts can creep in.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 09:40


For centuries a variety of behaviours and illnesses in infants and toddlers has been blamed on teething. Some of these now we dismiss out of hand as our knowledge of disease has grown. Serious infections could previously be attributed to a baby teething and indeed teething would be put down on a death certificate in times gone by as a cause of death. However, today many people will still attribute their baby’s ill health to cutting teeth. How valid is this?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 09:23

Acne: Do something about it!

In the course of a week consulting as a GP it is not uncommon to see a patient, presenting with some other issue, who has a problem with acne. Often it is not mentioned, but some of our most grateful patients are those with whom we raise the issue and ask if they would like some help with managing it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 08:36


Just because it itches - it doesn't mean it's thrush!

Itching of the vulva and around the vagina is a very common symptom in women of all ages with about 10% of women seeing a doctor at some stage about a persistent itch. Many more probably are unseen and often self treat for years with variable success.

Monday, 08 October 2018 11:31

Antibiotic Resistance

When antibiotics were first discovered and used in the 1940’s they were quite rightly regarded as miracle drugs. They allowed many simple but potentially fatal infections such as pneumonia to be cured. Their use together with immunisations, contraception and public health measures has done more for alleviating human suffering and prolonging life than anything to date.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 08:38

Ingrown Toenails

In a typical scenario, your teenage son in a rare moment of verbosity manages to say “ Mum, I think there is something wrong with my toe.”

They then peel back their sweaty sock to display a sight you never thought possible in a first world country. There, in all its manky glory, is a red swollen big toe and if you are particularly lucky not oozing copious amounts of an unspeakable liquid.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 08:37


As the Australian population ages, one of the most significant health problems we face is osteoporosis. In 2017 in WA alone 14% of the population over the age of 50 had osteoporosis. The figures become even more alarming over the age of 70 with 43% of women and 13% of men having osteoporosis.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 12:37

Acne Treatment

Safe, effective treatments are out there but it can be confusing to know what’s right for you Having acne can feel embarrassing and painful. And sometimes it can be tricky to work out what's going to help and what’s going to make the breakouts even worse.

Monday, 18 June 2018 09:39

Alternative Medicine

What's the Alternative?

Modern medicine prides itself on a firm commitment to scientific evidence in the assessment of the cause and treatment of disease. It is however an applied science to the deeply personal experience of every individual: this being their own body and health. This may explain why there is no shortage of opinion on how to treat illness by the public at large and specifically by those wishing to practice in alternative health care. Not all of these practitioners subscribe to the scientific method to ascertain medical fact or they may distort the method to give the appearance of scientific rigour.

Monday, 18 June 2018 09:29

Hot Flushes

Hot Flushes

Probably the most disturbing menopausal symptom is the hot flushes that usually start early on.  They often settle after a year or two although for some women they can persist for much longer. If they are troubling you then it is worth seeing your doctor as they can have other causes other than the menopause and there is treatment available to relieve your distress.

The hot flushes are caused by the fall in oestrogen levels around the time of the menopause. This seems to change the body’s thermostat in the hypothalamus of the brain so that there is a more narrow body temperature range that it is willing to tolerate. Anything that slightly raises the bony temperature such as stress, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine or a warm room can provoke a rapid and vigorous response of dilation of skin blood vessels which causes the flushing, sweating and a feeling of overheating.

Monday, 21 May 2018 11:48

Ban the Cotton Bud

Ban the Cotton Bud

You will probably never meet a doctor who has a good thing to say about cotton buds. People will stick a range of mind-boggling objects into their ear to remove wax or just give it a good scratch. The humble and innocuous cotton bud causes more trouble than all of them combined.

The skin of the ear canal is thin and delicate and the eardrum is surprisingly not that far away either.  Pushing an ear bud in and rotating it repeatedly because it feels good to scratch that itch can abrade the skin setting up a painful outer ear infection. Put it slightly too far and the eardrum can be damaged and even ruptured.

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 16:06

Introducing Solids to Babies

Introducing Solids to Babies

On average, infants visit their GP 11 times in the first year of their life and a common query is when to introduce solids. There is often conflicting advice given by well-meaning relatives and friends as well as various websites which leads to confused parents.

Babies either born premature, with poor weight gain or special health needs then it is essential to consult a doctor or dietician to assist. 

For most infants it is recommended to commence solids between 4 and 6 months of age. They should however continue to breast feed or use infant formula to the age of 12 months.

Monday, 07 May 2018 14:20

You Found What in Your Scrotum

You found what in your scrotum

So you have found, gulp, a lump in your testicle.

What should you do? Run around the room hyperventilating? Keep it to yourself and hope worry will make it go away? Pretend you never noticed?

Alarming though this maybe to discover, it is rarely a cause for concern. Don’t panic but get it checked out by the doctor and put your mind at rest.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:22

Fever in Your Child

Fever in your child

The vast majority of fevers in children are caused by minor and self-resolving viral illnesses. But, rarely, they can be an indicator of more severe illness. So, when can you relax and let their natural immunity fight off the illness and when do you need to seek medical care?

Thursday, 08 March 2018 09:07

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is very common with studies showing at any one time it is present in 12% to 21% of women of reproductive age. It is important to be aware of this condition as its symptoms vary between women and in up to a third of people the diagnosis is not reached until 2 years after they present to doctors with their symptoms.

Women with PCOS may have irregular periods (usually infrequent) due to irregular ovulation. This in turn can lead to delays in falling pregnant. In addition they may also show signs of high free testosterone levels in their blood with problems such as excessive and male pattern hair growth, acne and scalp hair loss. When pelvic ultrasounds are done they may also demonstrate multiple ovarian cysts, which gives the condition its name. However, each woman may show a different mixture of these symptoms and with different severity.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 09:05

Anxious Children

Anxious Children

Childhood anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues in young people and can often continue in some form into their adult life. There are many helpful psychological strategies they can learn at any age to help manage their anxiety so that it becomes less of an issue. 

A degree of anxiety can be a good thing in all of us by giving motivation to change and adapt to new requirements in the environment. However, if the level of anxiety is not appropriate to the situation or causes a person to avoid doing things that are in their best interest, it can become a problem.

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:35

Shield Yourself From The Death Star!

Shield Yourself From The Death Star

Living in Australia, we are very aware of the need to protect ourselves against the harmful effects of the sun, but how does the light actually damage our skin?

Light is made up of visible and invisible components and it is the short wavelength light in the ultra-violet component (UV light) that causes the trouble. In turn this UV light is subdivided into UVA, UVB and UVC depending upon the wavelength. The most powerful of these is UVC, which is filtered out by the earth’s ozone layer and so poses no threat.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 13:44

Why Losing Weight is Hard

Why Losing Weight is Hard

Obesity is the major chronic health problem facing Australia. From it many other medical conditions can arise including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and many cancers. Included amongst these is the unhappiness and despair it can cause amongst those who are overweight.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 06:08

Don't Die of Embarrassment

Don't Die of Embarrassment

As doctors we have all seen patients who have avoided seeking medical help out of a fear of embarrassment. Rashes in the groin, sexual problems, problems with urination, bowel issues, lumps in unusual places, fears of sexually transmitted diseases, emotional concerns, abuse at the hands of others and many more fall into this category.  


Wednesday, 24 January 2018 06:08

Why do Local Anaesthetics Sting?

Why Do Local Anaesthetics Sting?

It is one of the great ironies of life that Local Anaesthetics should cause a degree of pain before they start to work to block out further pain. Proving once again in life there is not such thing as a free lunch. But why do they sting when first injected?

Wednesday, 27 December 2017 06:08

The New Age of Contraception

The New Age of Contraception

For many years the oral contraceptive pill was the first choice for women looking for reliable and safe contraception and it remains a good choice for many. It was developed in the 1960s but over the last 10 years or so the appearance of various Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (or LARCS) has begun to replace their position as the best choice for women of all reproductive ages. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and various other professional bodies now recommend LARCs as first line contraception for young women.


Monday, 20 November 2017 06:08

Post Natal Depression

Post Natal Depression

All new parents will experience fatigue and extremes of emotion at some point but how can you tell the difference between simple tiredness and Postnatal depression (PND)?

It is common for new mothers to experience the baby blues in the first few weeks after birth. This can be crying and feeling low, but if these symptoms persist after the first month, or occur in the year after birth, this may be postnatal depression. 

Monday, 20 November 2017 06:08

Who's Choosing Your Nursing Home?

Who's Choosing Your Nursing Home

At any stage of your adult life it is important to put in place instructions about your future or your families future. This is even more important as you age or if you have elderly parents. The best know method of doing this is through a Will, which covers your instructions at the time of your death. To die without a Will leaves your loved ones in a difficult position that requires various legal processes to overcome the problem.

Monday, 20 November 2017 06:08

Should I have a Colonoscopy?

Should I have a Colonoscopy?

It depends…

Bowel cancer in Australia is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death. In 2017 it is estimated there is a 1 in 11 chance an individual will be diagnosed with bowel cancer before the age of 85.  A colonoscopy is an important test in detecting bowel cancer but for most people it is not necessarily the first step.

Friday, 03 November 2017 16:20

Stress and your Locus of Control

Stress and your Locus of Control

One of the major factors contributing to psychological distress in our lives is the amount of control we perceive we have over our circumstance and events that occur. Much of what happens in our lives we can’t control: from the traffic on the road through to the loss of a loved one, life is full of uncertainty and unpredictability. There are, of course, many things well within our control such as the lifestyle we pursue and how we treat those around us. 

Monday, 23 October 2017 06:08

Headaches in Children

Headaches in Children

Headaches are one of the more common reasons children visit their GP. This is not surprising given that headaches increase in frequency from affecting around 5% of preschool children and rising to around 70% of adolescents. Understandably when their child is affected by a more severe or prolonged headache, parents fear the worst diagnosis that they can imagine: this usually being a brain tumour or meningitis.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 06:08

Lifestyle change: What's holding you back?

Lifestyle change: What's holding you back?

In modern societies a lot of ill health and unhappiness is partly or wholly due to poor lifestyle choices we all make. These include our diet, inactivity, alcohol consumption, cigarette use, work-life balance, sleeping habits and many more. As doctors these choices are the most difficult thing to encourage people to change and our success rates are poor. 

Friday, 08 September 2017 13:47

Why Am I So Tired All The Time

One of the more common presentations to General Practitioners are complaints of tiredness without any particular other symptoms to suggest a cause. People will just say they feel tired all the time and don’t know why.

Most often no physical illness can be found and the tiredness is related to work/life balance issues, lifestyle factors such as insufficient sleep, life stresses and sometimes mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Friday, 08 September 2017 06:08



RUOK is a suicide prevention charity in Australia, reminding people that having meaningful conversations with mates and loved ones could save lives.

Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don't need to be an expert - just a great mate and a good listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling - start a conversation.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017 06:08

It's Not All In Your Mind

It's Not All In Your Mind

Through out history, people have tried to explain illness and how it affects the workings of the body. A major philosophical advance came with the work of a French philosopher, Renee Descartes, in the 17th century. He believed that the mind and the body were separated from each other. 

Monday, 31 July 2017 06:08

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome

Just under a quarter of all adult Australian could be diagnosed with the Metabolic Syndrome, which increases the risk of premature death by 60% as well as over doubling the risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attacks and strokes as well as tripling the risk of diabetes.

Monday, 17 July 2017 06:08

Childhood Eczema

Childhood Eczema

Childhood eczema is very common and sometimes found in the same child as part of the allergic triad of asthma, eczema and hay fever. Unfortunately it is often under treated in children due to fears about the overuse of steroid creams. This arises from well meaning yet misguided advice given by health professionals as well as friends and family.

Friday, 14 July 2017 06:08

Erectile Dysfunction

Failure to launch

Many men at some stage of their life can have problems with erections. Here we are not talking about the dodgy shed you put up in the back garden, which the Council then makes you take down. No, we are talking about the sensitive subject of impotence, or to be more medically correct, erectile dysfunction.

Friday, 14 July 2017 06:08

Dr Google

Dr Google

For good or bad, Doctor Google, is a presence in all our lives. People, understandably, wish to be well informed about their health and there is a wealth of good information online.  Unfortunately, Dr Google can also lead you up some strange paths. One minute you just want to know why you are getting migraines and the next some nutter with a website is suggesting Kale enemas as a cure for all your ills! 

Friday, 14 July 2017 06:08

Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Lower back pain is very common with up to 85% of people experiencing some form of it at some point in their lives. By far the most common form of this is what doctors term acute mechanical back pain, which can last for up to 6 weeks. 

Friday, 14 July 2017 06:08

Safe Travels

Safe Travels

Before travelling overseas, particularly to less developed countries, it is worth discussing disease prevention measures with your GP. Whether it is a visit for the first time, an old favourite holiday like a regular trip to Bali or you are travelling back to your country of origin to visit relatives: advice on health travel is important.