Dr Claire St John’s locum assignment in the outback.

Working with Aboriginal communities at Tennant Creek.

In May this year, Dr. Claire St.John did a 3 week locum working in Tennant Creek at an Aboriginal run medical centre, “Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation”.

This was Claire’s second locum position in a remote Aboriginal community, having worked in west Arnhem land in 2012.

She went as part of the Australian Government’s initiative to “Close the Gap” between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians (by improving the life expectancy, chronic disease rates and child mortality amongst Indigenous Australians).

The locum service, funded by the Australian Government, is able to place city GPs in remote areas of need. They are short term placements which enables GPs to continue their regular jobs back home.

The town of Tennant Creek, population 3000, is in the middle of the Northern Territory between Alice Springs and Darwin. It has a largely Indigenous population and long term residents and “grey nomad” tourists alike are laid back and friendly.

The town is surrounded by a gorgeous coloured landscape of red soil, spinifex, small gums and low hills with rocky outcrops. In the current dry season, the days are consistently sunny (around 28 degrees) with cloudless blue skies.

Claire worked at the medical centre in town named “Anyinginyi Health” which has long and short-term staff consisting of GPs, nurse practitioners, Aboriginal Health Workers as well as visiting dentists, audiologists and specialist doctors.

To read the full story view our Spring 2015 Newsletter.

Renovations to our Nursing area

We have reached Stage 2!  The nursing area of Blackburn Clinic is being improved and modernised. The noisiest work is being carried out on weekends and early in the morning, to minimise the disruption to patients, doctors and other staff.  As we need to continue seeing patients the work is being carried out in stages.  We will always have access to some parts of the nursing area.  We hope that our patients will put up with some noise and inconvenience temporarily in order that we can achieve a state of the art facility – with new, more private treatment rooms, a dedicated operating theatre and updated nurses station. We apologise to our Maple Street neighbours for any disruptions that the renovation might cause to them.  The photo above shows one of our new treatment rooms.

Help for Carers – Brainlink

Blackburn Clinic would like to make our patients aware of a local service (based in Blackburn) called BrainLink, that is dedicated to supporting the Carers of people affected by acquired disorders of the brain.  Long term patients of Blackburn Clinic will remember Dr John O’Sullivan, who was a doctor here for 37 years and is now on the Board of BrainLink.  Blackburn Clinic is proud to be associated with such a valuable service.

BrainLink’s first priority is to respond to the immediate needs of the Carers, families and friends of those who are living with an acquired brain disorder.

What is acquired brain disorder?

Acquired brain disorder is caused by conditions including stroke, head injury, brain tumours and progressive neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Motor Neurone disease and Huntington’s disease.  If you care for a person with such a condition, BrainLink can help you.

How can BrainLink help?

  • A first point of call for families at onset of diagnosis;
  • Education support programs for carers and families, including self-care strategies for Carers;
  • Innovative and flexible respite opportunities;
  • Specialised case management for individuals with severe brain disorders;
  • Comprehensive information and resources, and strategies for coping with physical or behaviour changes;
  • A road map of the disability services sector and how to negotiate the maze;
  • Strategies for coping with the grief and loss that comes from changed relationships.

Caring is a critical job that is often difficult and lonely. Carers need specialized knowledge, skills and assistance. Our programs provide a chance for you to meet with others in a similar situation and to develop support networks so that you no longer have to cope alone.

Scheduling breaks from your care-giving responsibilities isn’t being selfish. Your loved one needs you to be at your best so you can consistently provide high- quality care at home. The best part of attending a BrainLink getaway is that respite can be arranged if required; and if you have not used respite before, we are happy to discuss your options with you.

BrainLink has experienced staff who can provide you with information, resources and suggestions about your situation either over the phone, email or face to face.

What does it cost?

brainlinkBrainLink services are FREE.

Phone TOLLFREE: 1800 677 579

Website: www.brainlink.org.au

OR contact Karen Jorgensen,

Client Services Manager, Phone: 9845 2956

Email: Clientservices@brainlink.org.au

Dr Janice and her daughter Natalie playing with children from the orphanage

A Holiday with a Difference for Dr Janice! Working with the very poor in Indonesia.

In the 2014, preferring adventure to a leisurely break from work and study, Blackburn Clinic’s Dr Janice Kreltszheim, and her 15 year old daughter Natalie, spent 16 days on a remote island in North East Indonesian doing volunteer work. They joined a small team from World Share, an Australian-based development and mission organisation that connects overseas partners with local supporters.

Janice and Natalie went to the island of Halmahera, and joined a local organisation called Hohidiai which has a medical centre (including an outpatients clinic, small hospital and infectious diseases wing), a bilingual primary school, an orphanage, and which runs medical worker training, as well as adult English language lessons.

To read the full story view our Winter 2015 NEWSLETTER.