After Tasmania, I spent some time visiting family in mainland Australia, including the Gold coast, which was kangaroos galore. Check out the joey!
I then headed to Portland, Victoria. Portland was the first place Europeans settled in Victoria.
They have some special residents: two albino kangaroos! Here is one of them and an emu:
I particularly enjoyed the sections of The Great South West Walk that ran through Portland. It’s a 250km long bushwalking trail, which is immaculately maintained and has lots of little offshoots with lovely outlooks.
Whilst in Portland, I was able to observe many of the healthcare services that are provided there, and hear about the challenges they have being some distance from the nearest large hospital. Portland does have a hospital of its own, complete with operating theatre and maternity services but it is some distance by road for transferring patients in emergencies. As with everywhere else I’ve visited, the emergency transfer of the critically ill patient is constantly analysed and discussed.
One of the interesting things about my visit to Portland was visiting the local Aboriginal Corporation, which runs a free drop-in GP service. It’s not (usually) free to have an appointment with a GP here in Australia. While an appointment with most of the GPs (and all of the ones I’ve visited) is very affordable, the cost is seen as a barrier to lower income populations accessing healthcare. We are lucky in the UK to have free access to healthcare but it’s very interesting to see how other countries manage their populations’ access to services.
Whilst visiting a particular practice in Tasmania, I noted that many of the injuries the patients were visiting the doctor with were work-place related. The local meat works was the town’s largest employer but the repetitive nature of the hard work (and, sometimes, sharp knives accidentally going astray) meant it was actually quite a dangerous place to work.
Keen to see as much of the contributors to health as possible, I organised a site visit:
I particularly enjoyed the extra large heavy duty wellies (or gum boots, to be very Australian about it).
After three weeks in mainland Tasmania, visiting rural clinics, I boarded a plane to King Island. King Island, pop. ~1600, is part of Tasmania but is located in the the Bass Strait – between Tasmania and the mainland. It is famous around here for dairy and, happy days, cheese. While there, I spent time with the local GPs, had a tour of the incredible nursing home facilities, did home visits with the community nurses and spent a day with a visiting psychiatrist.
This was my plane ticket:I’d not seen anything quite like it before…
Hello from Down Under!
I’ve been here since the start of January and am having a ball. Everybody I’ve met has been very friendly and the Australian way of life is great: there are BBQ pits on every beach and in many neighbourhoods, free for anybody to use, and the wildlife is fantastic. I am yet to see any snakes (phew) but have seen wallabies, kangaroos, emus, a Tasmanian devil (it may have been roadkill…) and some beautiful birds (including a gannet colony, nice to know what my mum means when she says I eat like one!). No koalas yet, but I’m on the lookout. I’m still not used to seeing kangaroos and wallabies all over the place (particularly on road, the daredevils)!