General Practice of the Year

Paul Hayes

25/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

While some monikers are undoubtedly more creative than others, general practices are often furnished with names that are rather straightforward – banal, even. Melbourne’s Atticus Health Carrum, however, is not one of those practices.

The team at Atticus Health Carrum, winner of the RACGP's 2017 General Practice of the Year award
The team at Atticus Health Carrum, winner of the RACGP's 2017 General Practice of the Year award

‘The practice was named after Atticus Finch from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dr Floyd Gomes, GP and practice founder, told Good Practice.

As Dr Gomes explained, lawyer Atticus Finch’s efforts in defending Tom Robinson, a black man in America’s south in the 1930s, went a long way in helping to determine the practice’s overarching philosophy.

‘Atticus Finch has very little vested interest in supporting this individual per se. He did it as a statement of ethics,’ Dr Gomes said. ‘He was happy enough to support an individual in the midst of a lot of backlash.

‘The other part of that is to really empathise or understand people from their points of view … to try and take your lens off of the world. I think that is the main thing that we strive for at the practice, to try our very best to view the world through the eyes of our patients.

‘On the back of our business card, there is a quote from the novel: you can’t understand a person until you walk in his shoes.’

All of the staff members at Atticus Health Carrum go to considerable lengths to live up to this ideal, regularly working outside of the practice to provide the local community with high-quality healthcare services. This sees them visit retirement villages, nursing homes and even secondary schools.

‘We try to make it as efficient as possible, but there are challenges in working in those environments, be they IT or scheduling, that add a layer of complexity when trying to get out of the clinic and into the community,’ Dr Gomes said.

‘That takes people’s willingness to be involved.’

All of this effort is what makes being named the RACGP’s 2017 General Practice of the Year all the more validating for Atticus Health Carrum.

‘It’s mainly at a team level because a lot of members at Atticus Health Carrum go outside their usual work, and it recognises that extra effort that they put in outside the clinic boundaries,’ Dr Gomes said. ‘The award recognises that is something special that they are doing.’

In addition to all of the work done externally, the practice itself offers something of a single point of access for locals.

‘We provide a range of different services – GPs, specialists, a gym with an exercise physiologist onsite, podiatry, psychology, dietetics, massage,’ Dr Gomes said.

Atticus Health Carrum is also a teaching practice, with general practice registrars playing a key role in its services. This offers the opportunity to not only educate the next generation of doctors about the facts and figures of healthcare, but also some of the values behind its delivery.

‘I have a saying that I share with registrars: remaining relentlessly solution-focused,’ Dr Gomes said. ‘That has been the mantra of our clinic and the way we do things – to see things in an “as is” form, warts and all, even though that is difficult at times, and find a solution to that reality.’



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