Author: Smartclinics

Mixing different medication – the do’s and don’ts.

Be Medicinewise Week 20-26 August 2018

Author: Dr Sir-Kit Leong, SmartClinics Clayfield

Each year more than 230,000 Australians are hospitalised with problems caused by their medicine.

Whether it’s your own medication or someone you love or care for, it’s important to make sure you understand what each medication is for, how to take them correctly and be mindful of potential side effects when combining different medication.

SmartClinics GP, Dr Sir-Kit Leong, answers some common questions about safety and effectiveness of taking medicine, and multiple types of medication at the same time…

Q: If I think my medicine is not working, or making me feel worse, should I just stop taking it or wait until I see my GP before stopping?    

Dr Leong:

As a general rule, side effects may develop within hours of taking a new medicine if  you do not tolerate it. Delayed reactions can happen too within days after new medicine is commenced.

If you are not well in general,  particularly, if you  developed any serious side effect(s)  such as severe rash, fevers, dizziness, vomiting, breathing difficulties, the medicine is to be stopped immediately.

Be guided by your own observation, and do not delay in seeking medical attention if you are getting worse.

Q: What do you recommend as the best medication to give to my children when they are not feeling well?

Dr Leong:

It is dependent on what illness and what symptoms your child has.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are common symptom relief medication given by parents to children for pain and fevers. I do advise that parents check the active ingredients in any over the counter (OTC) medicine before giving them to children. There are various OTC brand names, that have similar ingredients.

Q: Can some drugs work for some people, but not for others?

Dr Leong:

Patients may have variable response to the same medication.

When a medicine is consumed, it goes through  some important phases in our body: absorption, distribution, metabolism (breakdown) and elimination (removal via kidneys and/or liver). If there is change to any of these phases, the therapeutic effect of  a drug can change.

Q: Should people who are heavier, or lighter, take more or less than the recommended dose for children/adults that is written on the pack?

Dr Leong:

The dosing of medicine for children is dependent on the child’s body weight. Adults who are frail, elderly, with liver and kidney conditions are likely to have a lower dose.

I  would advise patients to regularly check the medication details (name of drug, personal details, instructions, expiry date) on their packs/bottles before taking them.

This simple step will reduce risk of taking the wrong drugs.

Q: What are the dangers of mixing drugs for pain relief? Will it make me sick, or just not be as affective?

Dr Leong:

If you are taking strong painkillers such as codeine based ones, other than paracetamol and non steroidal anti- inflammatories (such as ibuprofen), it is advisable to discuss with your GP to use  medication  effectively and safely.

Opioid painkiller (common ingredient : codeine)  has a role in acute pain.

However in patients with pain that last several weeks, especially more than six weeks, it is important to consult your doctor to work out a clear plan and  subsequent ensuing  reviews.

Mixing painkillers without clear understanding puts a patient at risk of drug dependence, tolerance (when a drug is no longer working for its purpose) , overdose and adverse reactions (especially cardiorespiratory and neurological reactions).

Q: What’s the best way to know if different types of medication can be taken together? For example, if I’m taking panadol, can I also take asprin or neurofen?

Dr Leong:

In theory, risk of drug to drug interaction increase with each medication added to existing medication(s), particularly if you have six or more medications. Nonetheless, most people tolerate medicines without major side effects.

Your doctor would be able to provide you advice on what’s most appropriate when combining different medication.

I highly suggest that if you take multiple medications, it is wise and safe practice to regularly review the need for each of them.

The doctor can also report significant side effects or adverse effects to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that you may experience with medications,  for future safety prescribing.

Q: My current medications are quite expensive and I’m finding it difficult to afford to pay for them. Is there anything I can do?

Dr Leong:

You can consider taking generic medications as they  do work  the same as their patented counterparts, and they are more affordable.

When your doctor writes you a medication, the PBS box  is usually ticked on the script.

What it means is that the medication cost has been subsidised by the government under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme ( PBS).

Some non PBS medication may be cheaper than PBS ones.  Please do consult your local pharmacist on how to best reduce cost of medications.

You would eligible for cheaper PBS medicine  if you have reached the PBS  safety net threshold.

Concession card holders and patients who are registered Closing the Gap (CTG) PBS co-payment Measure , are also eligible for cheaper medicine.

Find out 5 questions to ask your doctor about medicines and more about Be Medicinewise Week at nps.org.au/bemedicinewise

For more information about medicine, or mixing different medication, call our Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424)

 

Hepatitis remains highly undiagnosed in Australia

Author: Dr Jeffrey Wang MBBS, FRACGP, HBV S100 Prescriber

28 July is the world Hepatitis day

It is a timely reminder that worldwide viral hepatitis is responsible for 1.3 million deaths each year. It is such a burden on health resource that the World Health Organisation has aimed to eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030. In Australia, we have an estimated 230,000 chronic Hepatitis B and 200,000 chronic Hepatitis C sufferers. However, thousands of people in Australia have not yet been diagnosed.

There are five types of viral hepatitis – A, B, C, D and E.

  • Hepatitis A and E are contracted through ingestion of contaminated food or water. They often resolve by themselves.
  • Hepatitis B and C are contracted through exchange of bodily fluid (blood, semen) during events such as unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, tattoo and piercing.
  • Hepatitis D is an uncommon infection that require concurrent Hepatitis B infection.

Symptoms of acute hepatitis may include lethargy, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow discolouration of skin), joint pain and abdominal pain. After the acute phase, Hepatitis B and C virus can continue to cause liver inflammation without any noticeable symptoms. Eventually they can lead to liver scarring and liver cancer.

It is therefore important to be aware of your risk profile and attend for appropriate screening.

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) has recommended potential Hepatitis B screening for the following groups:

  • People born in intermediate and high prevalence countries (see chart below1)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • All patients prior to undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy
  • Unvaccinated adults at higher risk of infection such as household and sexual contacts of people with chronic hepatitis B, past history of injected drug use, and men who have sex with men.

1http://testingportal.ashm.org.au/hbv

Screening is done through specific blood tests.

It is important to know that once diagnosis of chronic Hepatitis B is made, regular monitoring is essential to determine if treatment is required. There have been significant advances in antiviral treatment agents such as Tenofovir and Entecavir. They are very effective at withhold disease progression and have minimal side effects.

For Hepatitis C, ASHM recommends potential screening for people with the following risk factors:

  • History of injected drug use
  • History of incarceration
  • Recipients of organ or blood products before February 1990 in Australia
  • Tattoos or skin piercings
  • Born in countries with high Hepatitis C prevalence (Africa, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East – in particular Egypt)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Again there have been significant advances in Hepatitis C treatment and we have been looking at cure rate of >90% when treated early.

For further information, please refer to two very useful websites:

So please spread the word and arrange a time to see your friendly GP if you have any questions!

 

My Health Record – what you need to know…

What is it?

My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information. You can control what goes into it and who is allowed to access it. You can choose to share your health information with your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Why is it so important?

It means that if you need to attend Hospital or an Emergency Department the staff can see your most up to date medications and conditions which will allow them to provide you with the best care and treatment. This is especially important if you are a little older or struggle to remember the types and doses of your medications, and any recent changes to them.

Pharmacies, Pathology and Radiology can now all be uploaded meaning your relevant and most up to date medical information is easily accessible to health professionals when required. This is great if you frequently travel interstate.

How to Register

Visit myhealthrecord.gov.au and ask your Doctor at each visit to upload a new summary for you.

How to opt-out

From this July the Government will be starting a 3 month opt out period. This means that after October all those who have not chosen to “opt out” will automatically have a record created for them. Remember, the whole idea of the My Health Record is to save lives – it allows health professionals like your Doctors and emergency staff fast access to your health information if for some reason you are unable to tell them while in need of medical assistance. Some people would prefer not to have their medical data made available through their My Health Record due to privacy concerns. The data in your My Health Record is secure and you can control who can access it, however it’s totally your choice.. if you want to opt-out click here, but as medical professionals we think it’s a move in the right direction for providing ultra-convenient and high quality healthcare for all patients.

Want to know more? 

Watch this short video on YouTube for more information or click here to read more.

Response to Health Engine reports in media

You may have read some media reports today focusing on the sharing of patient information by Health Engine. In reported instances, any data that has been shared with 3rd parties by Health Engine during the appointment booking was unbeknownst to SmartClinics. We are taking the necessary action to investigate the truths and severity of the situation.

Please be assured that your personal health information is safe with SmartClinics. Health Engine does not have access to SmartClinics’ patient data as they are a third-party organisation that only stores its booking information and operates under its own privacy policy.

Whilst we currently continue to accept patient-initiated bookings via Health Engine, SmartClinics offers our own internal booking system called HealthMax at many of our locations, and we also accept bookings via phone. SmartClinics values the confidentiality of our patients, and will never share data with 3rd parties, unless requested by our patients.

For the moment, if you have any concerns over the use of Health Engine bookings, we recommend making an appointment via phone or visit one of our many clinics that use our highly secure internal booking engine. If you have any other concerns or would like to get in touch, please complete the Contact Us form or call our National Support Centre on (07) 3193 1300.

Warm Regards,
Steven Dahl, SmartClinics CEO

Men’s Health Advice by Dr Walsh

AUTHOR: Dr Ian Walsh

Men’s health week runs this year from the 11th to the 17thth of June.  We need to collectively take a moment to focus on this important area of health, irrespective of our gender.

 

For the men out there, it’s an opportunity to reflect upon your own state of health, both physical and mental, and work out whether it’s time to make an appointment to see your GP for a checkup.  For the women, often the responsibility falls on your shoulders, having to gently prod and encourage the men in your lives to get checked.

And it shouldn’t just be a once off.  It should be the start of a lifelong investment in your own health.  Because as a rule, men are neglectful of their own health, for any number of reasons.  And statistically, men’s health typically is poorer than that of our female counterparts.

So let’s look at a few statistics regarding men in Australia and their health (information sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics):

  • Males have a life expectancy of 4.5 years less than a female born at the same time
  • Every hour, 5 men die from a disease that could have been prevented through early detection and intervention
  • Each day about 32 men are told that they have prostate cancer
  • More men die every year from prostate cancer than do women from breast cancer
  • Rates of suicide among men are nearly four times higher than among women
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in males aged 15 to 45 years
  • By the age of 75, nearly half of all men will have been diagnosed with cancer at some stage of their life (women comparatively are under one third)
  • Men are less likely to consult a GP compared with women, particularly amongst younger men
  • Men aren’t doing enough physical activity (50% <65 years old exercise sufficiently, dropping to 25% for >65)
  • 70% of adult Australian males are overweight or obese
  • Men are more likely to engage in risk behaviours – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use
  • 50% of men have experienced violence as an adult
  • 86% of men aged over 65 have a chronic disease
  • 50% of men aged 16 to 85 have experienced a mental health disorder
  • 50 % of adult males reported some sexual difficulty in the previous 12 months
  • Males access Medicare at a lesser rate than females do (33% less services per year)

So what can you do, either for yourself or the men in your lives?

Make or encourage them to make an appointment to see their GP for a once over.  All it takes is a little time invested in the most important asset in your world.  And that’s YOU!

I personally have my own GP, who I can honestly state has helped me through a number of difficult times in my life.  And I have sought the advice of a counsellor, when I couldn’t find the answers I was seeking and needed the advice of a professional.  And there is no shame associated with putting your hand up and asking for help when things get a bit or a lot tough, because there are people out there willing and able to assist you get through those dark patches.

I have also sought information from other sources, to make the journey a little smoother and easier to understand.  From reading “The Happiness Trap” and “The Reality Slap” by Dr Russ Harris, to watching the brilliant “Man Up’ series by Gus Worland on ABC, through to listening to the “Be A Man” podcast series.  All of these have given me something to carry with me as this journey of life continues, hopefully better equipped at each stage to deal with the next hurdle.

There are also a number of great websites available to visit that deal with men’s health, particularly mental health.  From Men’s Health Week to Gotcha4Life to Beyond Blue and Lifeline – all of these, plus many others sites are out there to provide you with the information and support that you require, particularly if you are reluctant or hesitant to talk to anyone.

So the take home message is get in and see your doctor – nothing is too embarrassing to raise in that consultation, and we are able to provide the support and direction that is required to keep life on a healthy path, even if that’s not the path it’s presently taking!

By Dr Ian Walsh, SmartClinics Clayfield

MAKE A BOOKING WITH DR IAN WALSH (Brisbane)

FIND A MEN’S HEALTH DOCTOR NEAR YOU

READ MORE ABOUT MEN’S HEALTH

Dr Kelly is Retiring from General Practice

“After a long and happy career in general practice, I will be retiring on the 15th June 2018.

I’m leaving you in the trusted hands of the experienced Doctors at SmartClinics Clayfield who can tend to the medical needs of you and your family. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, my patients, for your support over the years. It has been my utmost pleasure to have helped you and your family”.

Warm wishes,

Bill.

SmartClinics Clayfield Doctors are:

  • Dr Sir-Kit Leong
  • Dr Genevieve Keane
  • Dr Ian Walsh
  • Dr Julie Heiser (currently not accepting new patients)
  • Dr John Turnbull

For more information about these Doctors, you may like to view their Doctor bios.

SmartClinics Clayfield is located at: 695 Sandgate Road, Clayfield 4011

(Opposite Clayfield College)

If you would like to Book An Appointment please call 3268 1937 or click here.
The clinic has ample parking as well as pathology services.
Click here to view a map. 

Considering Lip Filler?

Many SmartClinics GPs are highly skilled in a range of safe and proven cosmetic services. Read below for some common questions and answers about lip filler injections for plumper-looking lips….

Q: How long does lip filler last?

A:  Generally lip filler lasts 4 – 6 months. Many of my patients only require 2 filler injections per year.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: You will feel a small pinch and some stinging as the filler is being injected. Or if you prefer, we can use an anaesthetic or numbing cream to numb the area beforehand. Your treating Doctor will massage the filler through afterwards and place an icepack on them for a few minutes then you are free go.

Q: Will my lips feel hard or soft after filler?

A: Once the filler settles, your lips will feel just like normal. They don’t feel any different to real lips.

Q: How long does it take? Can I go back to work straight after my appointment?

A: It usually takes about 30 minutes for the entire procedure, then you are free to leave the clinic.  If we use numbing cream, that can take around 10 to 15 minutes to wear off. Your lips may appear a little swollen for around 24 hours so if you are concerned about people noticing it may be worth getting the procedure done on your day off.

Q: Are the results immediate or do I need to wait hours /days to notice a change?

A:  You will see results straight away but your lips may also look a little swollen until the next day until the filler settles in. After around 24 hours, you’ll see the ends result – this is how your lips will look for the next 4 – 6 months.

Q: Is there a way to change it back if I don’t like it, or do I just have to wait?

A: Yes. If you are not happy with the result for whatever reason we can use an eraser enzyme called hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler in around 5 minutes.

Q: Are there any risks or side effects I should know about?

A: All procedures have some form of risk involved but the risk with lip filler is minimal. In rare cases, some slight bruising may occur so I’d advise not to get the filler done immediately before a big event just in case you need a few days for the filler to set in. 

Q: Is it possible to only have my upper or my lower lip done?

A: Yes if you have one lip that you want done we can certainly do this at a reduced price (off the standard full price). 

Q: What does lip filler cost?

A: At our Burleigh Heads clinic, Lip Filler normally costs $650 for both lips, including the consultation. We are currently running a Lip Filler Special in June for only $399, which includes a free LED light therapy facial treatment that will help reduce fine lines and improve your complexion. This offer is only available on our website at Burleigh Heads and great for anyone who might want to try it for the first time. 

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ABOUT OUR JUNE LIP FILLER OFFER

CLICK HERE TO FIND A COSMETIC DOCTOR IN YOUR AREA (Cairns, Brisbane and Gold Coast)

Author: Dr Aaron Atia – SmartClinics Burleigh Heads

Dr Aaron Atia has over 20 years of clinical & supervisory experience in cosmetic aesthetics, facial surgery, anti-ageing treatments, hair restoration surgery, sclerotherapy (varicose & spider leg vein) treatment, weight loss, liposuction and skin cancer treatments. He has performed thousands of lip filler procedures during this time. Click here to read his bio.

Kidney Health with Dr Sir-Kit Leong

When you see your GP and request a health check/ ‘check up’, have you ever wondered what it entails?

As part of an adult health check, your GP would usually look at your kidneys – we call it in medical terms: renal function.

I would like to share some thoughts of why kidney health is important…

We have a pair of kidneys and they are tugged behind our lower end of back chest wall (posterior thoracic wall).

The kidneys have multiple functions. To name a few, the regulation of blood pressure, removing waste/toxins, maintaining electrolyte balance, red cell production, and regulating bone health.

We do not normally feel unwell from kidney injuries/damages, in fact, we may not feel unwell until we have lost 90% of our kidney function.

Kidney problem can affect any age group, young or old. One in three people is at risk of developing kidney problems, and less than 10% of population are aware that they have kidney disease/injury (source: Kidney Health Australia).

How do we look after our kidneys?

Put simply, looking after your kidneys similar to looking after your heart and blood pressure. You can reduce the risk of kidney disease by developing healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, keeping well hydrated and avoiding excessive alcohol  consumption. If you are on medications, check  with your GP that they do not affect the kidney functions.

As part of the health check, there are some simple blood and urine tests which are performed alongside a physical examination by your GP to determine your kidney health.

Monitoring kidney health is particularly more important in people who have or at risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, are overweight, or for those who are taking multiple medications. Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are also at higher risk.

For those who do not have existing health conditions, it is also essential to have your kidney  health looked at , for the aforementioned reasons.

We can treat kidney disease if we make the effort to have them checked early.

CARE FOR YOUR KIDNEYS – BOOK A HEALTH CHECK UP TODAY.

For more information about Dr Sir-Kit Leong, or to book an appointment, click here.

 

 

2018 Supercharged Flu Vaccines

About this year’s ‘Superflu’ vaccines

You may have recently heard about this year’s release of stronger flu vaccines in the News.   The media has referred to them as “turbo vaccines” or “supercharged vaccines” but what does that really mean? Dr Ian Walsh from SmartClinics Clayfield (pictured left) answers your questions below…

What is an enhanced flu vaccine?

Reference to ‘Turbo’ or ‘Supercharged’ vaccines relates to two types of 2018 vaccines that will be made available to patients 65 years and older, as it stimulates a stronger immune response in these patients. These will be branded as either FLUAD Adjuvanted Trivalent Influenza Vaccine or FluZone and are now available in most medical centres around Queensland. The Government will supply them free of charge for patients aged 65 and older.

What if I’m aged 18 – 65 years of age?

Adults under the age of 65 will receive a Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine that provides very high protection against 4 strains of Influenza.  You can buy this flu vaccine today for only $9.95 when bought online as part of our Early Bird offer. Many GPs are also offering bulk billed flu shot appointments this year to keep healthcare affordable. Click here for more information or to buy your vaccine now.

Should I wait for the Government-funded vaccine?

It’s highly recommended that adults get vaccinated as soon as the standard vaccine is available (in March) as this will help avoid an early outbreak of the flu. You can buy yours now, and we’ll let you know once it has arrived at the clinic.

What about flu vaccines for children?

This year the Queensland Government will fund vaccines for Infants aged 6 months to under 5 years. To be notified by email when this vaccine arrives at your local clinic please click here. If you have children aged 5 years to 17 years, you can pre-buy the children’s vaccine for $9.95 as part of our early bird offer.

For more information about 2018 Flu Vaccinations click here

To pre-order your vaccine today, or to set a reminder email, click here

Antibiotic resistance – are you at risk?

The World Health Organization has warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health today.

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. When this happens, antibiotics that previously would have killed the bacteria, or stopped them from multiplying, no longer work. Australia has one of the highest antibiotic prescription rates in the world, with around 29 million prescriptions issued annually. The more antibiotics are used, the more chances bacteria have to become resistant to them.

So how do you know if you are at risk?

Major causes of antibiotic resistance comes from:

  • Using antibiotics when they are not needed, or
  • Not taking antibiotics at the doses and times that a doctor prescribes — this allows time for the bacteria in your system to become resistant.

Practising good hygiene is an important way to help prevent the spread of infection and antibiotic resistance. Regular hand washing, using soap and running water, is one of the best defences against many of the viruses, bacteria and other microbes that can make us sick. When water is not available, in the car or on public transport for example, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are a convenient, portable and effective option.

The above information is an exert from “The Future of Antibiotics is in your Hands” issued by NPS Medicine Wise as part of World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017. For more information click this link to download your tool kit: NPS-Medicine-Wise-Toolkit

Got questions? Ask Dr Sir-Kit Leong from SmartClinics in Brisbane…

Q: My GP has prescribed antibiotics. Should I say no and not take them?

Dr Leong: Antibiotics are safe to take, the problem lies in them not being taken properly. If your Doctor prescribes antibiotics to you it’s because they have diagnosed you as having a bacterial infection (which is a type of germ/bug). It is important to know that only bacteria will be effectively treated by the appropriate antibiotics and not a virus, like the common cold or flu. So you can still safely take antibiotics, just be sure to take the whole batch and follow the instructions of your Doctor.

Q: Are there some antibiotics that are better than others?

Dr Leong: No. Doctors treat specific infections with the narrow spectrum antibiotic. The antibiotic selected by your Doctor is targeted for a specific infection.

Q: How do I know when antibiotics are not needed?

Dr Leong: Antibiotics are used only for bacterial infections – not for viruses like the common cold. Symptoms of virus can sometimes mimic bacteria. As a general note, a viral infection tends to last longer than bacterial infection. It may take some time to diagnose a bacterial infection through examination and at times, investigations such as laboratory specimen swab and analysis. The best option is to consult your GP before deciding on what course of medication to take.

Q: I have a constant cough that is not going away, ‘stuffy blocked/runny’ nose , pain on chest for days and I feel awful/unwell- I felt better taking antibiotics for these symptoms in the past. Shouldn’t I just take the same antibiotics?

Dr Leong: No, these symptoms are likely of viral infections and it can take up to three weeks on average for them to go away. These symptoms occur because your body is fighting the viruses and hence you feel unwell.  Your immune system is powerful enough to fight against most viral infections. The key message is not to take antibiotics in the first instance and have your doctor reviewing your symptoms over time.

CLICK HERE for more information about Dr Sir-Kit Leong or call (07) 3268 1937.

 

SmartClinics acquires Medplus clinics

SmartClinics Family Medical Centres is pleased to announce the acquisition of Medplus Medical Centres. 

The Medplus Group is well respected in the provision of general healthcare services and their General Practitioners have a solid reputation within the health industry. The Medplus Medical & Skin Centres located in South East Queensland will undergo rebranding at Rothwell, Ipswich, Strathpine, Pullenvale and Lutwyche over the coming months.

For existing Medplus patients, all patient medical records and patient information will continue to remain secure. Practice hours and fees will continue to be the same in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles and your usual Doctors and team supporting your care will remain practising from their current practice location.   The Lutwyche practice has now relocated to a brand new custom designed clinic on level 4 (above Coles) in Lutwyche City Shopping Village.

Practice rebranding will include new signage, refurbishments, as well as new staff uniforms, stationery and phone messages.  All practice and Doctor information will soon be made available on the SmartClinics website: smartclinics.com.au. In time there will also be some upgrades to more streamlined programs and practices to make booking your GP appointments easier and more convenient. 

Like existing SmartClinics’ locations, the majority of Medplus Medical Practices are conveniently located within a short range of a local pharmacy and are supported by Allied Health Professionals who consult from within the clinics.  These ‘new’ SmartClinics centres will offer a wide range of medical services from travel and flu vaccinations, to sexual health, mental health and chronic disease management. Regardless of your age or medical requirements, we’re confident that our Doctors and teams at Rothwell, Ipswich, Strathpine, Pullenvale and Lutwyche will continue to offer the highest of quality primary healthcare to meet you and your family’s needs.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates.

Early warning signs of Dementia – do you know someone at risk?

Early warning signs of Dementia. AUTHOR: Dr Sir-Kit Leong

In my years  of general practice, I have witnessed how dementia affects not only the patient, but also their family members and friends. It can be heartbreaking to see your loved one go through this debilitating disease so recognising the early warning signs is important. With early diagnosis and intervention we can improve the quality of life for both the person living with dementia and their family.

 For this reason, I’m encouraging you to act if you have noticed some changes in someone you know or love.

Dementia is a condition that affects brain function, causing it to deteriorate with time. The most common type is Alzheimer’s disease, but other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, fronto-temporal lobe dementia and Lewy body dementia. Dementia can present in variety of ways, at times insidious in nature and could evolve over a period of time. 

Here are some of the typical early warning signs to look for:

  1. Short term memory loss or becoming more forgetful.
  2. Difficulties with daily activities (chores, driving, bills, self-care). They may  take longer to do things, or may struggle to do new things or routines.  
  3. Out of character  personality and behavioural changes, such as depression, abrupt mood change and  exaggerated response to simple matters.
  4. Confusion – this may include trouble finding the right words to communicate, or difficulty explaining things.
  5. Apathy – they may seem emotionally ‘flat’.  The person may lose interest in hobbies and withdrawn from spending time with friends or family.
  6. Repetitive in their thoughts or actions and easily disengaged from flow of conversation

If you think someone you know is at risk, a good place to start is to consult your GP for advice on how to approach the situation. The key to helping someone with dementia is achieve the diagnosis early.  

With current existing community services, medical treatment and new research, it is possible to improve the overall health of the person living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia is an excellent starting point to find out more about dementia. Click here to learn more.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 offers support for carers/people looking after person with dementia.

I encourage you to utilise these resources and hopefully, we shall continue to improve the health of people with dementia in years to come.

Dr Sir-Kit Leong is GP at SmartClinics Medical Centre in Ascot, with interest in Chronic Disease Management and Elderly Health Care.

New patients welcome.

Caring & Experienced Cairns Doctors

Looking for a highly qualified and trusted Doctor in Cairns?

Woree Family Medical Centre and Smithfield Family Medical Centre have recently joined the SmartClinics Group. With nine highly experienced General Practitioners now working across these two convenient locations, you’ll be sure to find the right Doctor who matches your individual health requirements and preferences. No matter what your age, gender, background or health requirements – you are welcome to attend our Cairns Medical Centres.

Woree Family Medical Centre:

1/600 Bruce Highway, Woree, QLD, 4868. Book online or Ph: (07) 4033 2525

Smithfield Family Medical Centre:

 Shop 23, 5-7 Faculty Close, Smithfield, QLD, 4878. Book online or Ph: (07) 4057 7300

How to Book:

To book an appointment, select your preferred Medical Centre location or alternatively you can search through our list of experienced Cairns Doctors and sort by location, gender, specialty or language.  While all of our Cairns Doctors are highly qualified in General Practice, they can also offer you their own unique set of specialised skills and experience.  From Vasectomy Doctors, to Cosmetics and Dermatology, our Cairns Doctors can assist you and your family with more expert advice and services than you may think.   Their ongoing development in their field ensures that their expertise, skill set, and knowledge can consistently qualify and evolve with the latest advancements in medicine and technology.

Vasectomy Doctors in Cairns

A Vasectomy is the most successful method of birth control available, and is a very popular minor procedure among men who do not wish to have any more children. Our experienced Vasectomy doctors perform this procedure at our very own medical centres. To find a Cairns Vasectomy Doctor click here or read more about vasectomies.

Cosmetic Treatments in Cairns

Some SmartClinics Doctors are specially trained in cosmetic treatments and surgery including chemical peels, topical prescription peels, dermal fillers and injectables. To find out which of our Cairns Doctors offer safe and cosmetics services, click here. 

Mole Checks & Skin Scans

In tropical North Queensland, it is particularly important to get your moles and skin checked regularly for signs of skin cancer. Our professional Cairns’ skin doctors are very skilled in mole checking and minor surgery if required for the removal of dangerous spots or moles.  If it’s been a while since you last had your skin checked, make an appointment with one of our experienced Skin Check Doctors in Cairns.

 WOREE DOCTORS

  • Dr Emily Brimblecombe’s interests include dermatology, skin cancer medicine, women’s health (including Implanon and Mirenas), sexual health and paediatrics.
  • Dr Robert D’Hotman is highly skilled in minor surgery including vasectomies, skin cancer removal, and cosmetic treatments and surgery.
  • Dr Aaron Goldstein is experienced in performing minor surgery and can also perform safe and painless vasectomies. He is also qualified in travel health and vaccinations.
  • Dr Keating Vuong is interested in the mental health, particularly helping to live with anxiety and depression. He also specialises in children’s health (paediatrics) and emergency medicine.

Click here to read more about the Doctors above or SmartClinics Woree Medical Centre

SMITHFIELD DOCTORS

  •  Dr Dragi Simjanoski has been a GP in Cairns for over 20 years and is experienced in paediatrics, cosmetics, and skin cancer diagnosis.
  • Dr Roy Hogben has a special interest in antenatal care, men’s health, chronic disease management and skin cancer diagnosis.
  • Dr Tim Adams is highly experienced in skin cancer medicine & surgery.
  • Dr Paul Phibbs has been working as an owner GP at Smithfield Medical Centre for over 20 years and is highly experienced in family medicine.
  • Dr Nishari Wijewardena has a special interest in antenatal care, paediatrics and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Click here to read more about the Doctors above or SmartClinics Smithfield Medical Centre

Had enough children? Consider vasectomy.

Dr Matthew Valentine is an experienced Vasectomy Doctor who sees patients at SmartClinics The Gap & Ferny Hills Medical Centres.

Q Firstly, I didn’t realise that some GPs could perform this procedure, so how experienced are you at vasectomies? 

Dr Valentine: I have performed several thousand vasectomies in Brisbane since 2008.  I was originally trained in the traditional technique by my colleague Dr Greg Silver who has been performing vasectomies since 1985, so we are both very experienced in performing vasectomies.  I have since spent time in the US training in the no scalpel vasectomy technique and perform these daily on Brisbane patients.

Q How effective is a Vasectomy for birth control?

Dr Valentine: Vasectomy is around 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy.  Condoms are around 86% effective in preventing pregnancy and the pill around 95% effective.  Vasectomy is the most effective form of contraception available.

Q While it’s obvious that you are very experienced, I’m still a bit nervous about the procedure. Talk me through what happens at the appointment and how long it takes.

Dr Valentine:  Patients will lie down and relax on the operating bed. It’s very normal to feel nervous so they will be offered some valium if they are feeling a bit anxious.  This generally feels like having 6 beers all at once.  We’ll put some music on and relax and have a good chat while we do the procedure.  Patients generally feel very little during the procedure and are quite surprised by how quick and simple it really is.

Q Is a Vasectomy painful? What is the recovery time like?

Dr Valentine:  Patients will generally feel very little during the procedure.  They will, however, experience some  mild discomfort for the next few days after the procedure.  Usually patients are feeling pretty much pain free by day 7 after the procedure.

Q How safe is a Vasectomy? Are there any risks or complications?

Dr Valentine:  Vasectomy is a very safe procedure with very low complication rates.  The main risks are infection, bleeding and ongoing discomfort. 1-2 % of patients may have a small amount of bleeding following the procedure and develop small haematomas in the scrotum.  These will normally resolve by themselves with no ongoing issues.  1-2% may also develop a mild infection which is generally managed with oral antibioitics.  Only around 1 in a thousand patients will have issues with ongoing discomfort and may require an additional operation or procedure to resolve this.

Q How soon can I have sex after a vasectomy? 

Dr Valentine:  Patients can normally have sex around 7 days following their vasectomy.  They will need to make sure they continue their contraception until they have a semen test at 4 months that confirms the absence of sperm.

We have a number of experienced Vasectomy Doctors, like Dr Valentine (below), who can perform this procedure across Queensland. To book an appointment with Dr Valentine or Dr Silver please call 07 3300 3799.

Click here for a full list of SmartClinics Vasectomy Doctors across all locations, or read more about Vasectomies here.

Breakthrough in long term peanut tolerance

A recent study by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne has found that long lasting tolerance to peanuts can be achieved.

The study monitored a group of children over a period of 18 months, who were given a course of immunotherapy and probiotics for their peanut allergy. The goal was to desensitize these children to peanuts by gradually introducing a peanut allergen in the form of flour into their diet, along with a probiotic that contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

In this pilot trial, led by Professor Mimi Tang, 82% of children showed no adverse reactions to eating peanuts when tested a few weeks after completing the course of immunotherapy compared with 3.6% who were receiving a placebo.

Perhaps what’s even more exciting is that four years after the intervention, 16 of the 24 children in the immunotherapy group were still able to eat peanuts while only one child of the 24 in the placebo group could tolerate them. Many of the children in the treatment group continued to eat peanuts even after the trial finished.

“Allergic reactions from intentional peanut ingestion were uncommon, and all reactions were mild, suggesting that those who achieved [immunotherapy]-induced sustained unresponsiveness can safely continue peanut ingestion,” the researchers said.

The researchers noted that the intervention did not affect skin-prick tests for other food allergens, which suggested that the probiotic alone was probably not responsible for the beneficial effects on allergic response.

“Ours is the first study to show prolonged eight-week sustained unresponsiveness several years after treatment has ceased and suggests the possibility that tolerance is a realistic target for food allergy treatments,” they concluded.

The researchers are now embarking on an expanded trial, where 200 children with food allergy will be treated with an improved immunotherapy formulation, according to Prota Therapeutics, the commercial spin-off from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

The above information has been sourced from an article featured in ‘Australian Doctor’ dated 16 August, 2017, Authored by Michael Woodhead.

Brisbane Doctors on George Street

SmartClinics now has a brand new medical centre located in the heart of Brisbane, providing patients convenient access to high-quality healthcare while they are in the City.

The clinic was formerly known as George Street Medical Centre (and was located on 336 George Street) but has recently moved to an impressive brand new custom designed clinic on the corner of George Street and Adelaide Street. Conveniently located a block from the top of Queen Street Mall, the clinic is hard to miss with its new SmartClinics signage.
The new clinic was custom-designed by SmartClinics’ interior design and property team. Patients can expect a comfortable, clean, spacious, and sophisticated family medical centre that will cater for all their healthcare needs.

Situated in the city, the clinic was designed with the modern-day patient in mind. It features a charging station with USB ports at the comfortable work bench so you can work while you wait. There’s also free WIFI to keep you connected, so you don’t miss out on sending those important emails or researching online. If you’d rather take a moment to relax, the waiting area is decked out with sleek and stylish furnishings where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment.

Click here to take a 3D Virtual Tour

With a number of male and female Doctors at George Street Family Medical Centre, you won’t be waiting long. The experienced Doctors provide a wide range of women’s and men’s health services such as minor surgery, mental health, cosmetic medicine, travel vaccinations, and skin cancer checks. They are also very experienced in child and adolescent health.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to visit SmartClinics’s George Street Family Medical Centre. For more information about Doctors and services click here.

There are a number of multilingual Doctors within the SmartClinics Group, in keeping with the multicultural diversity in Australia. The George Street clinic has Cantonese and Mandarin speaking Doctors if that if you’re preferred language. To find a Doctor who speaks your preferred language, click here and select your language from the drop down list.

The clinic is fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment so doctors can provide comprehensive and personalised healthcare services. This is why the doctor rooms and treatment rooms are built private and discrete.

BOOKINGS

You have the option of easily booking your GP appointment online, for added convenience. You can choose your preferred time, day and Doctor from a list of available options through the SmartClinics website. Simply click the pink booking button in the top right of the site and follow the prompts.

Alternatively you can call the clinic reception on (07) 3236 2559.

OPENING TIMES

George Street Family Medical Centre is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00PM, and closed on Saturday & Sunday. Beyond these times, you can visit other SmartClinics Medical Centres that offer late night and weekend appointments.

There are also nearby clinics in West End, Toowong, Windsor, and Alderley that offer alternative options.

 

 

Health Checks – when should YOU have one?

Have you ever wondered if you need a ‘health check up’ even though you’re feeling healthy?

We interviewed Dr Sir-Kit Leong, General Practitioner at SmartClinics Clayfield Medical Centre to find out when you should start having a general health check, and what’s involved…

Q: What exactly is a health check?

Dr Leong: To put simply, it’s an analysis of your current lifestyle and medical history to find out if we need to work on anything to reduce your risk of developing chronic health problems or diseases. The goal is to help you to lead a healthier life so we look at ways to make that happen.

Q: How old should you be when you have your first check up?

Dr Leong: Health checks are important for everybody, regardless of your age, even if you’re feeling healthy. Health checks are advised for patients who are aged 40 – 49, and above 60 years old. Nonetheless there are preventative health measures which are important too in children and young adults.

As the saying goes – prevention is better than cure.

Q: How often should I have a check up and where can I get one?

Dr Leong: For anyone aged under 60, I’d recommend a health check every two to five years. For patients 60 years and older, more regular checks may be required based on their individual health level. I run a weekly health check clinic here at our Clayfield clinic as it’s one of my special areas of interest, but any SmartClinics Doctor can also provide a check up.

Q: How long does it take and what’s involved?

Dr Leong: Depending on the age and health of the patient, health checks generally take around 30 minutes. For your first appointment, I’d allow 45 minutes. A health check for a child or young adult is significantly different from a middle aged or mature aged person. It’s really a case-by-case approach as every patient’s health is different and so is their family history.

Q: So what are some examples of the things you check for or discuss?

Dr Leong: For adults, I screen for osteoporosis in females over 45 years old and men aged over 50 aside from cardiovascular and diabetes check. We also discuss smoking, nutrition, alcohol, and their physical activity.

It also provides an opportunity for us to discuss the role of screening blood tests, which patients commonly enquire about, but may not be necessary.

 I track the BMI (body mass index) weight chart regularly for patients regardless of age. For instance, this check is particularly important for children in their first 4 years of life, as weight >85th percentile for their age increases their risk of obesity as an adult.

With adolescent patients we talk about their mental health, sexual health, and challenges transitioning into adulthood. Sometimes young patients find these topics hard to talk about with their friends or parents.

Q: What is the cost for a check up with you at SmartClinics Clayfield Medical Centre?

Dr Leong: There is a small gap fee for your health check consultation. Our reception team can provide you with more information about the breakdown in costs.

To book an appointment with Dr Sir-Kit Leong for a Health Check up please call the clinic reception on (07) 3268 1937. You can read more about Dr Leong here.

For more information about the common tests and topics discussed in Health Checks by age, click here 

Taigum clinic receives National safety & quality award

1 September 2017

SmartClinics Taigum Family Medical Centre increased its community health credentials today when the practice received a national award of accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to quality and safety in General Practice.

The practice, located in Taigum Square Shopping Centre has been providing a wide range of general health services to locals for over 14 years, including Skin Checks, Pre-employment Medicals, Chronic Disease Management and Travel Medicine.

SmartClinics Taigum received this important recognition from Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), the leading not-for-profit provider of general practice accreditation services within Australia.

AGPAL Chair Dr Richard Choong said accreditation shows the practice makes a significant investment and commitment to quality on a day-to-day basis, across all levels of the practice team.

“Achieving accreditation is a major achievement for any practice and a clear demonstration that SmartClinics Taigum Medical Centre is striving to improve their level of care to both patients and the community,” he said.

“Practices seek accreditation because they want to do their best and view this as another step towards excellence in patient care.”

To achieve accreditation, a practice team works over a 12 month period to implement the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices, (the recognised national standard), which provides a template for quality care and risk management. 

The AGPAL accreditation program was developed to provide a range of minimum expectations for patients surrounding safety and care by assessing the practice environment and their processes. Accreditation was developed jointly by AGPAL and primary health organisations and peak bodies, including the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

Areas of focus during an on-site assessment for accreditation include: ensuring vaccines are within their use-by-date and stored at the correct temperatures; that the practice equipment is clean and sterile; practice staff are up-to-date with their training; and the practice has emergency care available.

Dr Choong said accreditation is attainable only through cooperation and communication between staff members.

“Everyone at the practice plays a valuable role in working to meet the RACGP Standards. It gives staff a real sense of pride to work in an accredited practice,” added Dr Choong.

SmartClinics Taigum proudly displays the AGPAL symbol for all their patients to see.

“We want community members, nation-wide to know that their wellbeing is our priority. By choosing to attend an accredited practice, patients know they will get quality and safe care that meets the RACGP Standards.” 

New patients are welcome at the clinic. To book an appointment with a SmartClinics Taigum Doctor call (07) 3265 4555 or click here

Doctors available on EKKA public holiday

OUR ANNERLEY AND CHERMSIDE DOCTORS ARE OPEN ON MOST PUBLIC HOLIDAYS!

Wednesday 16 August 2017 is Brisbane EKKA public holiday, and while many other medical centres are closed around Brisbane you can still see a SmartClinics Doctor at one of the following clinic locations:

SmartClinics Annerley Medical Centre

  • Open 8:00am – 10:00pm
  • Ph: (07) 3848 9299
  • Book online here
  • Address: 548 Ipswich Road, Annerley 4103

SmartClinics Chermside Medical Centre

  • Open 7:00am – 11:00pm
  • Ph: (07) 3177 9500
  • Book online here
  • Address: Shop 212 Westfield, Gympie Rd, Westfield Chermside, 4032

Patients with appointments will have preference except in emergencies.  You can make an appointment with any of our doctors online or by telephoning or presenting to the surgery.  Please let our receptionist know if you require prompt attention for matters such as chest pain, burns, eye injury etc.

Appointments are normally made at 10 minute intervals, however this may change if there have been emergencies or if the surgery is very busy.

We have made running on time a high priority, but emergencies do happen. It’s a good idea to phone the surgery before your appointment to check whether your doctor is running on time.  If you feel you require a longer consultation please discuss this with the receptionist prior to making an appointment.