02 Feb 2021
What is life like for a doctor in the Kimberley? In this latest episode of Taking care, we hear about the journey of GP Dr Katie Gault, and the work that she does with the community in Derby, Western Australia.
Speaking with host Susan Biggar, Dr Gault explains the diversity of everyday medicine in Derby. After trekking from Melbourne to remote Western Australia, she found herself working with an Indigenous community who face a very different and complex array of health issues. As a GP in a remote community, she often finds that seemingly simple issues such as school sores might have broader implications and require a holistic approach to healthcare, citing that ‘the biggest challenge is not just treating the disease but treating the person and the background that comes with that. Most of the challenges of health come with the intergenerational trauma,’ Dr Gault said.
Spending plenty of time with patients both in the clinic and community has helped Dr Gault gain patient’s trust and improve her own understanding of life in the Top End.
‘This tropical paradise with birds in the trees at night, the smell of the frangipanis, getting to fly to work some days. I get to visit these very remote communities [who are] still learning the traditional ways. It’s great to learn from them, hear their stories,’ Dr Gault said.
She’s also well-supported by many other health professionals including Aboriginal Health Workers. However, gaps in healthcare remain, for example, ‘there’s not enough trained psychologists [nor] trauma-based counselling.’
Mental health challenges are rife and affect many of those delivering the care. Dr Gault has found a number of ways to manage her own stress and shares her tips for other professionals considering working in remote healthcare.
Listen to the full episode.
The Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest Taking care episode today. Ahpra releases a new episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking Care’ in your podcast player.
Here are a few resources that Katie recommends: