Author: Smartclinics

2018 Supercharged Flu Vaccines

Your Questions Answered…

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 answers your questions below…

What is an enhanced flu vaccine?

Reference to ‘Turbo’ or ‘Supercharged’ vaccines relates to 2018 vaccines that stimulate a stronger immune response in patients. These will be branded as either FluAd or FluZone and are due to arrive in April 2018. The Government will supply them free of charge for patients aged 65 and older.

Who can get these stronger vaccines?

If you are aged 65 or older, you do not need to pay for your vaccine.  Please register your interest online today by clicking here and we will send you an email when the vaccines arrive at your local SmartClinics medical centre. Many SmartClinics Medical Centres will also bulk bill flu vaccination appointments for Medicare Card holders during business hours on weekdays.

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

For adults under the age of 65, we encourage you to pre-order your 2018 flu vaccine today. The standard vaccine is called “Afluria Quad”and it provides very high protection against 4 strains of Influenza. It is due to arrive in early March and is only $9.95 when bought online as part of our Early Bird offer. We will send you a reminder to let you know once your vaccine has arrived at your local SmartClinics Medical Centre, and 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 FluAd or FluZone 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. However, if you have children aged 5 years to 17 years, you can pre-buy their 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: 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.


  • 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


  •  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.


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.


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 Ascot Medical Centre to find out when you should start having a general health check, and what’s involved…

Q: First of all what 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 Ascot 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 Ascot 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


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.