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Latest news, health news and press releases from UQ Health Care.

Five questions for Dr Nga Phan

This month we spoke to Dr Nga Phan, General Practitioner at the UQ Health Care Cornwall Street Medical Centre.

 What inspired you to pursue a career as a general practitioner?
As a general practitioner, what I enjoy most about my work is the variety of health problems that I get to see and treat.  I am the first point of contact for medical issues for my patients and most of my patients will continue to see me in the long term for advice and treatment.

General practice also offers excellent work prospects.  Everyone will need to see a doctor at some point in their lives and with a growing population, the demand for services is great.

What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day, I usually spend around eight hours consulting and half an hour on administrative work.  I see patients and their families from all ages and provide a range of services from treating acute and chronic illnesses to providing preventative health and health education.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
I am a general practitioner with a special interest in ear, nose and throat disorders.  In particular, I have an interest in chronic sinus disease. I have completed a Master’s degree in this area.  My workplace is also well equipped to allow me to perform ear examinations and cleaning using microscope suction.

What are your interests outside of work?
Maintaining a good work-life balance is important to me and general practice allows me to fulfill this.  I play tennis three times a week and jog/cycle most other days.  I am also a keen traveller and enjoy visiting other parts of Australia and overseas with my family and friends.

What do you love about living in Brisbane?
I love living and working in a metropolitan area.  Living in Brisbane, I enjoy the warmer climate.  I also think that our city has beautiful architecture, parks and riverfronts.



Prescribing exercise as medicine

A weekly exercise program prescribed by UQ Health Care Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Steve Royle has improved 79 year old Janice’s health, fitness, strength and mobility.

Janice is one of Steve’s many clients who use an exercise plan to manage and prevent chronic injuries and health issues.

“Since starting with Steve at the Healthy Living Centre I have noticed improvements in my aerobic fitness, muscle strength and muscle mass,” Janice said.

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Everything you can possibly do to avoid the dreaded flu

We are already over half way through Winter, however the peak flu season hasn’t hit yet. Data from Flutracking, a survey backed by various Australian and New Zealand government health bodies shows that in Australia on average, between 2012 and 2016, the peak flu season didn’t hit until August. So as more people around you contract the flu how do you protect yourself?

General Practitioner Dr Toby Smith from UQ Health Care’s St Lucia clinic said the first and most important way is to get your flu shot.

“The flu shot not only helps to reduce your risk of getting the flu but it also helps to prevent people around you from getting the flu including those at most risk such as older people, those with weakened immune systems and children,” Dr Smith said.

“Flu viruses are spread by tiny droplets when people with the flu cough or sneeze.

“You can become infected with a flu after touching a contaminated surface then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.

“Even though it is so easily spread there are ways we can try and prevent these nasty viruses and help each other if you do come down with a flu.”

Dr Smith recommends six tips to avoid the flu as we approach the peak flu season.

Get the flu shot
The best and most simple way to reduce your risk of contracting the flu is to get immunised each year.

Wash your hands
Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as this will help reduce the risk of infection with the virus.

Keep hydrated
Adequate water intake is essential to ensure your immune system is working effectively and also aids in eliminating toxins from your body. Aim for at least eight glasses or two litres of water a day.

Eat healthy
A varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is an important factor in any healthy lifestyle. Foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc will all help to keep you healthy during the flu season.

Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps to boost circulation allowing your immune cells to better patrol your body and fight off infections before they can take hold. As an added bonus, exercise also causes the release of endorphins which make you feel happier too.

Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nose and throat making it easier for viruses to cause an infection. Smokers also tend to have a more severe reaction to viral infections, including the flu, than non-smokers.






Five questions for Dr Brigid Flanders

This month we spoke to Dr Brigid Flanders, General Practitioner at the UQ Health Care Cornwall Street Medical Centre.

What inspired you to become a GP?
During the course of my secondary school education in science, I was introduced to a range of vocational options and I believed that studying and practising medicine suited my interests and my orientation to caring for people’s wellbeing. After graduating, I spent three years working in hospitals and during this time, I realised that my greatest interest was in providing continuing care not just emergency care. The role of a specialist general practitioner was the best fit for me.

What were some of your highlights whilst working as registrar at the Cornwall Street Medical Centre?
I came to Cornwall Street Medical Centre in my final semester as a GP Registrar. I found the work with young and medically oriented patients interesting and varied. The level of support of the Practice Manager, senior GPs and other staff was a highlight. Another highlight was that I gathered an increasing number of families and child patients.

How did this experience equip you to become a GP?
A GP could spend their working day in their consulting room seeing only patients. I learned that it’s very important to become part of a collegial group of medical practitioners that includes but also extends beyond other GP colleagues. I learned to value professional conversations very highly because GPs are presented with such a wide range of medical problems to solve each and every day, it’s often through continuing professional conversations that your knowledge and skills expand to suit the demands of the role.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The only things that are ‘typical’ in my working days are where I work and when I work. The vast range of medical issues that I deal with and the number of different patients that I see means that my work each day is always varied.

My pattern of work is as follows… I try to arrive usually half an hour before my first appointment so that I can check and act on results that may have come in. I spend all morning consulting, try to keep on time for patients and so that I can share lunch with and catch up with colleagues. Following afternoon consultations, I typically follow up administration arising from the days consultations and incoming results.

What are your interests outside of work?
Maintaining fitness and family related activities are my greatest interests outside work, alongside music, film and the beach.

Lunch break high intensity work out

When you have minimal time and you want the best fitness results, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has proven to be the most beneficial. HIIT involves shorts bursts of high intensity exercise, separated by periods of low intensity exercise or rest.

University of Queensland School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences PhD student and Accredited Exercise Physiologist Emily Cox said the key benefits of HIIT workouts include:

  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Improves your fitness
  • Requires little to no equipment
  • Can be adjusted to suit anyone

Emily suggests a HIIT workout routine that could be done at home between study or at work during a lunch break.

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Nurse practitioner model of care embraced

Since the UQ Health Care nurse practitioner model of care was introduced at Aveo Durack the number of aged care residents admitted to hospital has significantly decreased.

UQ Health Care Chief Executive Officer Darryl Grundy said a nurse practitioner available full time on site has enabled residents’ medical requirements to be attended to more rapidly and in many instances treated on-site.

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Tips on how to maintain optimal health during exams

UQ Health Care’s Clinical Director, Dr Rosy has provided five health tips to avoid bad habits, minimise stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle to achieve your best results during exams.

  1. Sleep hygiene
    Less sleep is expected this time of year with increasing demands but try to approach seven hours a night if possible. Some nights may be less which is understandable. Avoid energy drinks, excessive coffee and other stimulants which have a negative effect on your ability to initiate sleep and sleep quality.
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UQ Health Care St Lucia medical clinic maintains national accreditation

The UQ Health Care St Lucia health service achieved a national award of accreditation demonstrating its commitment to quality and safety within the practice.

The accreditation was received from the Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), following an assessment of performance against the governing industry standards set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

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Older Australians shape how new technologies are developed

Retirement village residents have been given first access to test and provide feedback on technology in development stages.

As part of the Florence research project , students and researchers from The University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, participated in a technology showcase at AVEO Durack that displayed a range of innovative technologies, including some specifically developed for older people.

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