#90 Family Doctor Week 2019 - Interview with Dr Naomi Harris


23 July 2019

AMA Family Doctor Week 2019, held from 21 to 27 July, celebrates and recognises the role of Australia’s 37,000 GPs as the primary medical and healthcare providers for all Australians.

AMA Victoria urges all members of the community to have a regular GP, including our own doctors.

Stethoscope caught up with Dr Naomi Harris for our Section of General Practice, to chat about the importance of doctors looking after their own health.

What does having your own GP mean to you? 

It means that I can have somebody objectively care for me. I unfortunately have very complex care needs secondary to what I have been handed in life so having my own GP gives me a feeling of support and security. My GP is able to have an overview of all specialists involved in my care. I have faith in my GP and trust him with my healthcare needs.

What is the most rewarding part of being a GP? 

I absolutely love the longevity of care I have established with a large number of patients and being involved in their care through different life stages. I love not knowing what is going to walk through the door on any given day and I love the problem solving nature of my job. I am a strong believer in patient advocacy and take this part of my role as a GP very seriously. I am also a strong believer in the notion that ALL Australians should have a regular GP that they can trust with their health.

Why is it important to remind doctors to look after their own health? 

There is nothing that says when you become a doctor you automatically never get sick physically or mentally. There is nothing that says you do not need the level of care that we offer to the non-medical community. We, as a profession, are constantly promoting to the Australian community that they should all have a regular GP. We are not exempt from this.

As a doctor it can sometimes be difficult to find a GP who is happy to look after other doctors - it can be uncomfortable for some doctors regardless of the side of the desk you are sitting on - but it is an important part of everyday life that you look after yourself. There are ways to identify those of us who are happy caring for other doctors. Your longevity in the profession can be impacted by taking care of your own health, by letting an independent GP care for your health. It is so very important to have your own GP. And it is important to actually see them when you are not travelling so well (physically or psychologically) - just being able to quote a name and a clinic is not enough!

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