health

The forgotten relationship we all need to get right.

This post is sponsored by HESTA

By LUCY ORMONDE

Ringing the doctor to receive test results. It’s not an easy call to make.

But when my friend had to do it recently, I swear she may as well have been talking to one of her best friends.

I couldn’t hear what the doctor was saying, but the tone in my friend’s voice was of someone who was assured and comforted by the person she was speaking to.

Like it was a long-lost friend.

And luckily for my friend, it was good news. But if the situation was reversed and it was a different kind of phone call, I can only imagine she had the right person on the other end of the line to talk her through it.

It’s hard to find that kind of doctor.

And if there’s anything I’ve learned recently, it’s that.

The first time I moved out of home, I went to a small country town around two hours from Melbourne — the city I’d grown up in. It was a job that took me there and I rented a unit with a friend and attempted to make a life in the city of just 11,000 people. But there were some things from home I just couldn’t let go of.

And one of those things was my gorgeous doctor.

There were doctors in that little town I moved to. And I’m sure they were good ones too. But in the ten or so months that I was living there, I never once went to see them.

This post is sponsored by HESTA

Instead, I’d take a day off work and drive the four-hour round trip to see my childhood doctor — the woman who’d been seeing me from the day my mum waltzed into her office holding a 6-month-old baby with a bad case of croup.

That doctor knew my name, my medical history, where I grew up and what school I went to. She’d always give me a jelly baby after an injection (even at the age of 22) and whenever I’d walk into her office, she’d always ask me how the rest of my family was.

Was my doctor better than the doctors at the local medical surgery? Probably not. When you’re sick, there’s something really comforting about speaking to someone you know and trust. And that’s why, despite the distance, I kept going to see her for as long as I could.

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Unfortunately however, when I moved to Sydney the distance became too much. I kept commuting to Melbourne (not kidding!) for all the annual girly-type appointments. But I soon learned that travelling interstate for a tonsillitis diagnosis wasn’t the best use of the funds in my back account.

(And apparently Medicare doesn’t cover flight costs?!)

And so began the search for a new doctor. Of the doctors I have seen since I got here, some have been lovely. And some haven’t been so lovely.

I tried bulk-billing clinics, but I generally found there were more patients in the waiting rooms then there were minutes in the day. I tried doctors recommended by friends, but invariably they weren’t taking on new patients or had waiting lists longer than my credit card statement.

In the end, it took me 18 months. My eventual doctor was recommended by a friend who had also needed to find a doctor at short notice recently, and she’d managed to fit me in after a little begging and pleading (and possible crying…).

She sat me down. She listened. She gave me time (and drugs!).

And then, she even gave me a lollipop.

This post is sponsored by HESTA

More people in health and community services choose HESTA for their super.Why not acknowledge their efforts by nominating them for a HESTA Primary Health Care Award. The awards recognise the work of primary health care professionals including: physiotherapists, dentists, pharmacists, therapists, GPs, rehabilitation professionals, health educators and medical practice managers. HESTA is recognising excellence in the categories of Young Leader, Individual Distinction and Team Excellence.  Winners will share in a $30,000 prize pool provided by awards sponsor, ME Bank. Nominations close 31 March 2013.

For more information and to nominate visit their website. Follow HESTA on Twitter @HESTAPHCawards.

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Is there a local primary health care professional you would nominate?