Opiate Replacement Programs

Atticus Health’s Dr Hardik Solanki has undertaken additional training of a course titled Medical-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence. This course was designed to enhance medical practitioners’ knowledge and skills on opiate replacement programs.

Opiate replacement programs are in place to assist those with opioid addictions. These addictions can lead to opioids being misused for extended periods of time, which can be debilitating or even life-threatening. The replacement of suboxone, which can be prescribed by a trained GP, can assist with addiction recovery. Suboxone works by keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay.

A patient who comes to their GP seeking help with an opiate addiction may be provided with a prescription for Suboxone, and those suffering from addiction and dependency will be referred to Peninsula Health’s Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Drug and Alcohol Service (FaMDAS). Additionally, they will have regular monitoring and counselling by a trained GP.

Opiate replacement programs have a good rate of success with the conviction and dedication from the patient. These programs take into consideration the fact that each person requires a personal and individual approach. As addiction is commonly associated with other mental health issues, the treatment will also aim at helping patients deal with mental health issues for their overall health and wellbeing.

Knowledge and experience in these programs also allow GPs to assist people who are living with friends or family suffering from addiction. If you think this service would benefit you or somebody you are close to, book in now to take the first step to recovery.

 

Foot Health Month

This year’s Foot Health Month focuses on the theme of promoting podiatry. The Foot Health Month campaign seeks to remind the public about the significance of good foot health and encourage people to seek more information about the services that podiatrists offer.

Podiatry is a growing profession. In 1999, there were 2,011 podiatrists in practice. By 2016, this number jumped to 4,399. According to Podiatry Board of Australia industry statistics, the rapid growth of podiatry is reflected in the youthfulness of the profession, with close to 40 per cent of practicing podiatrists being under 35 years of age.

One of the most serious foot health issues is lower limb amputation resulting from complications of diabetes. APodC CEO Damian Mitsch says focusing on proper foot care has the potential to reduce the effects of diabetic foot among Australians.

“Unfortunately, Australia performs very poorly against other developed nations in terms of diabetes-related lower-limb amputations. In fact, we have the second-worst rates in the developed world – an avoidable amputation takes place every 2-3 hours in Australia,” says Mitsch.

“In additional to this social cost, the financial burden on the healthcare system is extraordinary, with each lower-limb amputation costing $26,000 plus aftercare costs.”

“Proper podiatric care has the potential to dramatically prevent amputation for a patient with a diabetic foot condition. Foot issues need to be identified and treated quickly and consistently to stop a minor wound becoming infected, ulcerated and, ultimately, resulting in the loss of limb to save someone’s life,” Mitsch added.

If you believe you have foot health needs, book in to see Chloe today.

Atticus Podiatrist Chloe Middlemass

World Osteoporosis Day

Osteoporosis is a common disease that affects around 1.2 million Australians. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing the bones to become brittle. This leads to a higher risk of bone breakage than a normal bone.

Osteoporosis is thought of as a ‘silent disease’, as it rarely shows symptoms before the brittleness of the bones leads to a fracture. As the bones lose density and strength, a fracture – partial or complete break of the bone – can be caused by a minor bump or fall.

Who is at risk?

2019’s World Osteoporosis Day is focused on men making bone health a priority – “Real men build their strength from within“. Osteoporosis is often thought to be a women’s disease, as women are at a higher risk after menopause. When estrogen levels decrease, the bones lose calcium and minerals at an elevated rate. As testosterone levels lower more gradually, the deterioration of men’s bones may happen at a slower pace. However, there are many factors that can lead to the development of osteoporosis. These include:

  • Family history – If family members have a history of osteoporosis or broken a bone from a minor fall or bump, these can be indicators of low bone density.
  • Medical history – Low hormone levels, some chronic diseases and some medicines for breast and prostate cancer can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin D and calcium levels – Both vitamin D and calcium are essential for bone health, and low levels put you at risk.
  • Lifestyle factors – Low exercise levels, smoking history, extremely low or high weight and excessive alcohol intake all contribute to your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Detection

If you are over 50 and present with any of the osteoporosis risk factors, then it is recommended that you get a bone density scan. This is a simple scan that takes approximately 10-15 minutes. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of osteoporosis, book in with your GP for them to determine if you should be referred for a bone density scan.

Prevention

There are steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis. In addition to living a generally healthy lifestyle, there are 3 main approaches to take to lower your risk of osteoporosis:

  • Calcium – Victoria State Government’s Better Health Channel provides you with information on recommended calcium intake for different ages and life stages.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D aids in the absorption and regulation of calcium, while also supporting growth and maintenance of the skeleton.
  • Exercise – To build and maintain bone strength, it is important to focus on the right kind of exercise. Weight-bearing exercise and progressive resistance training both work the muscles and bones sufficiently to increase bone strength.

To find the right exercise regime for your body, you can make an appointment to see Nikki, our exercise physiologist. She is available at our Hastings and Carrum clinics for personal and group classes, depending on your needs.

 

Asthma Awareness

Spring is the season for new flowers, animals being born and, unfortunately, a rise in asthma risk. Asthma Australia uses the beginning of September as the time to draw awareness to the increased risk to asthma sufferers. 1 out of every 9 Australians suffers from asthma and 80% of those also deal with the associated problems that come from hay fever. This year Asthma Australia’s theme is ‘Asthma in Disguise’.

Thunderstorm Asthma

Thunderstorm asthma is the phenomenon that occurs during grass pollen season, which in Victoria is typically from October to the end of December. Asthma Australia advises that this time of year brings about more frequent reactions of asthma and hay fever. The storms that happen over spring and summer cause winds to carry the pollen seeds over long distances and become concentrated in the wind just before a thunderstorm. These smaller concentrated particles can get further into airways than regular pollen and thus trigger more cases of hay fever and asthma.

How to Protect Yourself

The first step to take if you are unsure how to deal with asthma is to book in with your GP to make an Asthma Action Plan. This way you can work with you GP to find the best way to handle your asthma and hay fever problems year round.

Once you are aware of your sensitivity to increased pollen, whether it be due to asthma, hay fever or a combination of the two, the next step is to be aware of the pollen count before you plan your daily activities. AusPollen is an app and website that has experts gathering information on pollen counts to forecast the daily pollen risk for up to a week in advance in your area.

If you find yourself faced with a high pollen count day and your healthcare professional has advised you to be cautious of the risks this carries, you can take steps to avoid excessive exposure. Staying inside as much as possible, while keeping house and car windows closed can minimise pollen exposure. Avoid hanging clothing on outdoor clotheslines during these high-pollen periods, and instead hang indoors or use a clothes dryer. Recommend children who experience asthma or hay fever to take their school lunch breaks in the library, or other indoor options that are available. Always keep whatever prevention method your GP has recommended on hand during thunderstorm asthma season.

Asthma First Aid

If you are suffering from a severe asthma attack, the best course of action is to call 000.

If you are experiencing a mild to moderate asthma attack, it is important that you follow the 4 Asthma First Aid steps.

1 – Sit the person upright.

2 – Give 4 separate puffs of blue-grey reliever puffer.

3 – Wait 4 minutes.

4 – If symptoms have not improved, call 000 to tell the ambulance that there is an asthma attack.

To have constant access to these steps, download the Asthma App.

Extra Help

For those of you used to dealing with symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis, you are used to the associated costs that come with care. Asthma Australia has combined a list of tips to assist with managing your symptoms while saving money.

 

Atticus Home Care

Atticus Health is excited to announce that we will be branching out into a Home Care service. Due to patient needs, we will be providing a service of home-visiting nurses and doctors.

We understand that not every patient can make it into a clinic as often as they may need, so we are offering this linking service to help combine care while living independently. Our team of clinical professionals are committed to bringing you the same impeccable level of care that you have come to depend on from Atticus Health.

With our 24-hour Ageing-In-Place monitoring technology our team works together to provide well-communicated, well-informed care, bringing peace of mind to you and your loved ones.

The service will initially be offered in the Bayside City area, including Carrum and its surrounds. Atticus Home Care will be privately funded or accessible through the home care package scheme.

To receive your free initial comprehensive home assessment, ensure you book in before 30th September 2019.

For more information call 1800 ATTICUS (1800 288 4287) or email Clare at cwestlow@atticushealth.com.au

Stronger Together.

Mixed Billing

Dear Patients,

Please note that effective 16 Sept 2019, Atticus Regional Medicentre Hastings and Atticus Health Bittern will be introducing a mixed billing policy.

At the heart of this decision is the fact that we want to attract and maintain the very best General Practitioners and continue to provide you with our best service. We believe that becoming a mixed billing clinic is more likely to deliver this important outcome in the long term and thereby ensure the sustainability of our services.

At Atticus Health we genuinely care and are committed to delivering personalised and professional health care.

To keep things fair and simple, our fee structure has been set so that the out of pocket expense to you, as the patient, is the same regardless of which GP you choose to see at either Hastings or Bittern.

As of 16 September 2019 the following fees will apply:
Fee / Medicare Rebate / Out of Pocket Cost
VR / Non VR VR / Non VR

Standard consultation $65 / $47.80 $38.20 / $21.00 $26.80

Standard consultation $77 / $58.20 $49.80 / $31.00 $27.20
(*After hours)

Long Consultation $115 / $79.05 $73.95 / $38.00 $41.05

Long consultation $130 / $92.70 $85.30 / $48.00 $44.70
(*After hours)

Extended consultation $175 / $127.15 $108.85 / $61.00 $66.15

Extended consultation $195 / $146.35 $119.65 / $71.00 $75.35
(*After hours)

Antenatal $70 $40.75 $29.25

Script (without consult) $15 n/a $15

*After hours: After 6pm Monday to Friday, after 1pm Saturday, all day Sunday, public holidays

Patients with a valid government concession card and children under the age of 16 years will continue to be bulk billed for consultations.

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!

Olya Solodovichenko – Atticus Hastings Physiotherapist

The Atticus team is thrilled to welcome Olya to our Hastings clinic. She will be joining Nikki our exercise physiologist and Chloe our podiatrist as part of our allied health team. Together with our GPs and nurses, allied health gives us the opportunity to offer more specialised health assistance to our patients from within the one clinic.
If you have not already had the pleasure of meeting Olya, this is her story:
“It feels like I was born as a physio! I worked for Australian Defence Force (Army and Navy), for acute-care hospitals in Australia and overseas, for private physio- and general practices, primary health care, sports & fitness clubs and even for Disability Sports & Dancing Club!
As a member of Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, I strongly believe, that we can manage and fix most of our health problems by better choices of our daily living, such as movements, nutrition, sleeping, thoughts and emotional reactions to our circumstances.
Working with my patients as a team, I try to show them the deepest roots and hidden causes of their problems, not only going through and correcting their postural and movement errors, but also their nutrition, sleeping habits, stress levels, worries and fears, and any other things that might contribute to their aches & pains, inflammation or poor healing rates.”
Qualifications: PhD – Sports & Exercise Science; Master of Applied Sciences (Clinical Exercise Science); Master of Physiotherapy Studies; Bachelor of Physical Education & Sport

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.