The General Practitioner’s Association of Geelong (GPAG) was the region’s Division of General Practice that supported 260 GPs across 56 General Practices. GPAG was a not for profit organisation with a vision to have a community of General Practitioners providing quality primary health care for all people in the Geelong region. The company is one of the largest regional GP networks in Australia that provides business and clinical support services to General Practice. GPs, Practice Nurses and Practice Managers are closely involved with a range of educational programs, networking opportunities, preventative health programs, chronic disease management partnerships and the development of sustainable models for general practice into the future.
GPAG has a rich history in providing youth health services and in 2007 was awarded one of the country’s first ten youth mental health Headspace contracts. GPAG has been instrumental in securing funding for a GP Super Clinic for Geelong and is a founding member of Kardinia Health.
On 17 June 2011 the Federal Government announced that the GP Association of Geelong was one of four Victorian organisations to successfully become a Medicare Local, the GP Association of Geelong, then transitioned to become Barwon Medicare Local and now in July 2015 has combined with other Medicare Locals to become the Primary Health Network Western Victoria.
Formed in 1998, Barwon Health is Victoria’s largest regional health service serving up to 500,000 people in the Barwon South Western region across 21 sites.
Barwon Health is a major teaching facility with links to Deakin University, The Gordon and other tertiary education facilities around Australia. Barwon Health’s University Hospital Geelong is one of the busiest in Victoria. Barwon Health provides care at all stages of life and circumstances through a comprehensive range of services from emergency and acute to mental health, primary care, community services, aged care and sub-acute care and rehabilitation.
With a staff headcount in excess of 6,200 people, Barwon Health is also the largest employer in the region and a major education provider through relationships with Deakin University, Melbourne University, Monash University and The Gordon.
Deakin University Medical School has come a long way in a short time, since its foundation in 2006, and is delighted to have a strong partnership with Kardinia Health. The School was established to produce work-ready medical graduates to address workforce shortages in Australia, especially in rural and remote areas. It is the first regional Medical School in Victoria, and has an annual intake of approximately 140 students into the four-year program. The School has rapidly become one of the most popular postgraduate medical courses in Australia, and has also been recognised in this year’s ARWU rankings (Academic Ranking of World Universities), achieving a ranking of 100-150 in the world, in the field of Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy.
During the first two years of the program, students learn basic medical sciences and clinical skills in state-of-the-art facilities at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus. They are also introduced to the four themes that underpin the entire course: Knowledge of Health and Illness; Doctor and Patient; Ethics, Law and Professional Development; and Public Health Medicine. Clinical experience is a key to our program from an early stage, and is gained both in our clinical skills laboratories, and on clinical placements in hospitals and health services. Theoretical teaching occurs via a lecture course and problem-based learning tutorials, in which students analyse cases with a facilitator in order to acquire the skills and knowledge required to practice medicine.
The final two years of the course are spent in the Clinical Schools: Geelong Clinical School, Greater Green Triangle Clinical School (Warrnambool), Grampians Clinical School (Ballarat), and Eastern Health Clinical School (Box Hill and other Eastern Health hospitals). The fifth clinical school is the Rural Community Clinical School (RCCS) program, in which a cohort of students spend their 3rd year based in a rural General Practice. In the 4th Year, all students also have the opportunity for elective study in other parts of Australia and overseas. During the clinical years, students rotate through all major medical specialties, including General Practice, and many of our medical students have an opportunity to attend Kardinia Health for a clinical placement, which provides invaluable training opportunities.
We have worked closely with our partners including Kardinia Health, University Hospital Geelong, Epworth Hospital Geelong, St John of God Health Care, and a number of regional Health Services in Western Victoria, to provide stimulating training environments throughout the region. We have a network of over 800 teachers and tutors providing the benefits of their collective wealth of clinical experience to our students. We are also excited to be involved in the development of new partnerships including the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Deakin Rural Health research centre, and the Western Alliance for clinical research across South West Victoria. These research partnerships extend to Kardinia Health, with some productive collaborations now developing between clinicians in the practice, and their colleagues at Deakin University.
The School has developed other new undergraduate and postgraduate programs, including Optometry, Medical Imaging, Agricultural Health and Medicine, Biomedical Science, Biomedical Science Honours, a research Masters degree (the M Phil in Medicine), an MBA (Healthcare Management) and a Masters in Clinical Leadership. We also have a significant number of PhD students in both basic clinical sciences and clinical research. Our research capability and performance has grown rapidly. This involves academic staff at the Waurn Ponds campus, and those working in primary and secondary care throughout the region. Our research spans basic biology, applied and clinical research, and population health.