New Doctors

Atticus is very fortunate to be able to welcome two new GPs to our Somerville and Carrum clinics.

Dr Kosala Jayatilaka is a very experienced, respected and caring GP who has practiced in the local Frankston area for over 10 years. He enjoys all aspects of general practice and really looks forward to improving the well being of all individuals and families who come to see him. In other words, it’s obvious to all who meet him that Dr Kosala Jayatilaka loves his job and loves his patients!

Book now!

Dr Riddle is a very experienced, caring GP. She spent thirteen years as a GP in Edinburgh before moving to Australia in 2017. She has spent her time-to-date working in the local area Dr Riddle enjoys the diversity of general practice and the satisfaction of providing continuity of care for her patients. Dr Riddle completed post-graduate training in Accident and Emergency, Psychiatry, General Medicine, Care of the Elderly, Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr Riddle’s areas of particular interest include Women’s Health and Paediatrics, Mental Health and Palliative Care. Dr Riddle has undergone additional training in Implanon insertion and removal.

Work-life balance is important to Dr Riddle and, along with her passion for general practice she enjoys bringing up two active children along with her husband of sixteen years. When not shuttling her children to sporting pursuits Dr Riddle enjoys running, tennis and a beachside lifestyle!

Book now!

Dry July

For over 10 years, Australians have been going alcohol-free for the month of July as a way to raise funds and awareness for people affected by cancer. Since it began in 2008, more than 160,000 have abstained from alcohol in July, and collectively raised upwards of $37 million for various cancer organisations.

Why Go Dry in July?

By going dry for July, you can help raise awareness for those affected by cancer. That includes those who are diagnosed, as well as all their friends and family. Cancer is Australia’s leading cause of death, with 1 in 2 men and women having a diagnosis by the time they turn 85. The Cancer Council estimates approximately 50,000 cancer-related deaths for 2019.

While these figures are shocking, the survival rate for cancers can be as high as 90%, according to the Cancer Council. Many awareness organisations offer personal stories from survivors, such as the National Breast Cancer Network Australia. Continuing to raise both awareness and funds offers the opportunity to further research and to assist those coping with diagnoses.

Abstaining from alcohol can also provide many personal health benefits. Medical News Today conducted a study into the effects of participants who went without alcohol for one month and found that the participants felt a higher awareness of their relationship with alcohol, and an increased ability to control their future drinking. They also experienced higher energy levels, weight loss and a better quality of sleep. The Sleep Foundation confirms that affect that alcohol has on the quantity and quality of a person’s sleep.

Who Will You Be Supporting?

The organisations involved in Dry July include:

Each state also has local organisations involved. Some of Victoria’s local participants are:

  • Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre – a centre focused on developing innovative cancer therapies and international research programs, with the best of patient-centred care and medical treatment.
  • Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre – a world-class cancer centre providing care, treatment and research for the people of the Grampians Region of Victoria.
  • The Alfred Hospital – Alfred Health provides the most comprehensive range of healthcare services in Victoria through their 3 hospital campuses, large network of community programs and 14 statewide services.

For full information on the organisations involved in Dry July, visit the beneficiaries section of their website.

How Can You Help?

If you think Dry July sounds like the challenge for you, get started right away. Sign up on the Dry July web page as an individual or a team. Once you have committed yourself, begin spreading the word. Chase up friends, family and colleagues who you think would be up for it, and encourage them to join you on the journey.

To begin fundraising, Dry July offers assistance to help you reach out across various platforms. They provide social media images, pre-written emails, posters and more to help you seek support. For additional resources and fundraising tips, head to the fundraising section of the website.

If you are having reservations about being unable to abstain from drinking for the whole month of June, there is a way to make Dry July work for you. Dry July offers participants to purchase ‘Golden Tickets’ as a way to buy a night or day of drinking. For example, if you have a special occasion that falls directly in the middle of July, but still want to participate in Dry July, you can buy yourself one of these Golden Tickets, and add to your fundraising pool for a night free of obligations.

Need Some Further Motivation?

To get you started, here are some  scrumptious non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy while you commence your month without alcohol:

Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail

Sparkling Berry and Pomegranate Mocktail

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Classic Banana Smoothie

Healthy Breakfast Juice

If you or someone you know is dealing with issues from alcohol addiction, visit Reach Out for information and support.

Jack (Floyd) and the Beanstalk (Chicken)

On my birthday earlier this year, I somehow felt compelled to remember and then write about one of my all-time favourite pets – Tesse. I hope you don’t mind me sharing that piece with you. A bit left of centre to medicine I know, but let’s just say – pets are great for health!

Jack (Floyd) and the Beanstalk (Chicken)

I was somewhere between the age of 12 and 18 years old, because that’s when I was a paperboy, although I’m pretty sure I was on the younger side of that range. So I was out riding my bike one day, scooting around the backstreets of East Bentleigh (that’s how you say it as a local, not Bentleigh East, that’s how you say it coming off realestate.com or anything else as an outsider), when I got to Juliana Street and noticed something in the front yard of one of the houses. It was white, but it was spitting rain and I couldn’t make it out completely. Not to mention the edges of my monkey cap and Stackhat and everything else in between meant that I didn’t see much at all at 5:30am in a Melbourne winter. I thought – Chihuahua (which mind you I never would have spelled correctly without Google). As me, my milk crate full of papers and bike which I’d plucked off the side of the road as one of my (brother’s) best hard rubbish finds, worn out shock absorbers and all, edged closer – I understood – it had feathers. IT HAD FEATHERS, MAN. What a find… a stray chicken! Every suburban kid’s dream find (surely).

My heart was now beating fast. I could feel the adrenaline running through my parka (there you go, I thought that was parker – thanks again Google!). Wait, my parka – I needed to take it off to grab the bird. Hey wait again – where would I put the bird. How do I ride a bike with my chicken (I was thinking ahead here, not doubting the fact that I’d outsmart it in the dark before sunrise). The papers had to go. I ditched them in a bush in that front yard. They were however rather strategically placed, hidden there between the agapanthus (at this point, I’m reminding myself how poor my spelling actually is!) and daisy bush to return to later. Sorry to all those folk who got a bit of an extra soggy read that morning, this was truly a case of a course in miracles.

So I cornered that chicken, she battled, but my will was too strong. She went into a dead end near the hose, house and front wooden fence and after a cluck cluck here and a cluck cluck there – things were resolved. The ride home was fine. Chicken in milk crate, parka over milk crate, hoodie, flannel shirt, T shirt, singlet, freezing skin despite – all on board. I got home, I remember mum coming to the back door as I opened the gate. Her face was a mix of “What the?”/”Great find and get back to work you crazy kid”. That image remains with the collage of images etched on my mind. Somewhere permanent. It must have been important. Of course it was… leaving to deliver papers, returning home with an awesome chicken!

Tesse was a good chicken. I named her Tesse because I just felt it such a country name, like if she could, she’d yodel or boot scoot or play the guitar. And every time she clucked, that’s just what Tesse seemed to be doing, for me at least. She was a good chicken. We’d let her out in the backyard, and if we forgot to put her back in her house, she’d sit so neatly and patiently at the step of the backdoor. Not a word. I’d sit with Tesse for hours sometimes. Her on my lap, scratching just under her eye, practising my skills in hypnosis. “Now you shall cluck like a chicken”, well of course I will. We were good friends.

Tesse was a great layer. An egg a day. And so it was rather a shame when she cracked her first egg and started to eat it. From then on, she got the taste for her produce and would lay and crack. Who would have thought she was such a cannibal. But heck, her eggs tasted good, so I never blamed her. After 7 years (from what I remember), she died. Perhaps of high cholesterol from all the eggs she ate! We put her to rest in an ice-cream container along the back fence, under the apple tree, adding her grave to the fallen pets before her – rabbits, ducks and birds which made up our pet cemetery. We hammered in a cross, said a prayer, and ushered her into peace.

On my 41st birthday, this is to you Tesse. For above all, my life has been but a collection of relationships, and ours, I remember still. You were such a dear childhood friend.

Of course I went back for the papers… they were soggy, I got complaints. Heck, it was worth it though!

General Practice Accreditation

Our Hastings clinic recently underwent general practice accreditation and thanks to the consistent hard work of our staff, we passed with flying colours. Atticus Health Hastings is now recognised as an Accredited General Practice under the RACGP standards.

What is Accreditation?

Practice accreditation involves an external party, such as Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited, assessing whether the clinic meets the requirements of governing industry standards. The standards are set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

All staff, including doctors, nurses, practice managers and reception staff are required to meet and understand the standards that are set in all areas for a general practice.

While not all clinics will undergo accreditation, those who elect to do so are at an advantage. Accreditation allows the practice to have an outside official evaluate all areas, with direct feedback for areas that require improvement. Undergoing accreditation also permits the practice to proudly display their accordance with best practice standards. An accredited general practice shows that it is ‘committed to providing high quality, safe and effective care as determined by the general practice profession’, as stated by the RACGP.

How Do We Benefit?

The advantages of general practice accreditation, as stated by AGPAL fall under the following categories:

Industry Benchmark

The process of accreditation gives general practices the ability to measure and assess their policies and procedures in accordance with the RACGP. Atticus Health as a company is always striving to reach its highest potential and allowing official representatives to inspect and offer feedback on our policies gives Atticus the opportunity to ensure that we are abiding by the highest industry standards.

Patient Safety

There is nothing more important to a general practice than the health and wellbeing of its patients. Going through the process of accreditation allows for the practice to ensure that it is doing its best to deliver the highest quality of care. At Atticus Health, our patients are our priority. Accreditation offers the confirmation of top-quality service and patient procedures, while allowing for feedback and room for growth and improvement.

Quality Improvement

While striving to do their best, no clinic can be perfect. Highlighting the areas in which a company needs to improve is vital for its success. The separate party performing the accreditation is trained to acknowledge and bring to light any sectors in which a general practice requires improvement.

There is no drawback to a clinic choosing to be accredited, only the opportunity to build upon their foundations. If the general practice has too many criteria indicators that need adjusting, they are given an opportunity to amend them following the feedback from the accreditation.

So now you can book your appointments with added confidence that you are receiving the best quality healthcare that we can provide.

National Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that June is Australia’s Bowel Cancer Awareness month? Wednesday 19th June is known as Red Apple Day, in reference to Bowel Cancer Australia’s red apple logo. Australians are encouraged to use this day to support Bowel Cancer Australia’s important work by purchasing and displaying Bowel Cancer Awareness ribbons, and by partaking in apple-themed fundraising activities.

The Bowel Cancer Awareness Month website has great suggestions and guidelines for fundraising activities. Click here for more information.

Who Is Affected?

1 in 13 Australians will have a bowel cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, making it Australia’s second deadliest cancer.

While there are incidences of bowel cancer occurring in younger Australians, the highest risk category is men and women aged over 50. Hereditary factors, such as your parents or grandparents being effected by bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, can also increase your risk.

It has been suggested that smoking, high alcohol intake and high red meat consumption are also factors that can increase your risk of bowel cancer.

What Can You Do?

Bowel Cancer Australia predicts that 15,604 diagnoses of the disease will be made in Australia this year, but the good news is that bowel cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer if detected early.

All Australians ages 50-74 are advised to partake in a non-invasive, at-home screening process, known as a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). If you are eligible for the FOBT, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program can send you a free test kit to collect the sample in your home, and sent to a pathologist for analysis.

If you are at greater risk for bowel cancer, it is recommended that you discuss the best screening option for yourself with your doctor.

Maintaining a healthy diet, quitting smoking and lowering alcohol intake are all steps you can take to help keep your health at its peak. When you are above the age of 40, it is recommended to get annual medical checks, as a tool to stay on top of your health. If you require assistance with these lifestyle changes, your regular GP is a great point of contact to start the change. Book now to make an appointment.