Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CAREER ONE - Janita Singh Call 02 8399 5320; or go to ci­

A GOOD gen­eral prac­ti­tioner can be one of the most im­por­tant peo­ple in your life, par­tic­u­larly if you have a chronic con­di­tion or de­velop a se­ri­ous ill­ness.

A pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with your GP is price­less, so it’s im­por­tant to choose the right one.

Dr Sachin Choudhary, who has been a GP for more than two decades, un­der­stands this cru­cial role.

“In Aus­tralia, gen­eral prac­tice is the first stop, the gate­way to the rest of the health sys­tem. You have to have ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of most other dis­ci­plines in medicine,’’ he said.

“As a GP you have to en­joy peo­ple, shar­ing their prob­lems and joys.”

Al­though en­try into med­i­cal school re­quired very high marks in the HSC and in­volved a min­i­mum of 11 years of study and ap­pren­tice­ship, in prac­tice med­i­cal stud­ies in­volved more dili­gence than in­tel­li­gence.

“A suc­cess­ful doc­tor has to have a high Emo­tional Quo­tient (EQ) rather than a high IQ,” Dr Choudhary said.

In Dr Choudhary’s case, choos­ing a ca­reer in medi- cine was ob­vi­ous as his father was also a doc­tor.

“I spent my teens work­ing part-time as a re­cep­tion­ist in my father’s gen­eral prac­tice in Pen­rith. I watched the same pa­tients re­turn­ing over the years and en­joyed the re­la­tion­ships that my father and I de­vel­oped with them ... I was awed by the trust pa­tients placed in my father as their GP.’’

Dr Choudhary, who prac­tises at var­i­ous cen­tres in­clud­ing Ci­tyDoc Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Red­fern, said the life of a GP was chal­leng­ing.

A typ­i­cal day would in­volve con­sult­ing with 40 to 50 pa­tients.

“In a typ­i­cal day, most of the 50 pa­tients that you con­sult will present with sim­i­lar symp­toms but there may be one of them that can have a se­ri­ous life-threat­en­ing con- di­tion,” Dr Choudhary said.

“That is the real chal­lenge in gen­eral prac­tice – in that five to 10 min­utes that you spend with a pa­tient, de­ter­min­ing who is se­ri­ously un­well. That is where ex­pe­ri­ence counts.

“With years of ex­pe­ri­ence, doc­tors de­velop what we term “clin­i­cal sus­pi­cion’ – it is like a sixth sense but is an ac­tual cul­mi­na­tion of your ex­pe­ri­ence in prac­tis­ing medicine.”

The most re­ward­ing as­pect of be­ing a GP was see­ing happy pa­tients.

“It’s when you see the treat­ment plan that you have in­sti­tuted for a pa­tient ac­tu­ally show­ing re­sults ... ”

And what is his tip for good health?

“The old adage ‘food is medicine’ has never been truer when we con­sider the most press­ing health is­sues to­day,” he said.

“This is the most im­por­tant health habit to teach our chil­dren.

“Teach­ing them healthy food op­tions, how to min­imise ad­di­tives and preser­va­tives in their diet and how to cook fresh, sim­ple meals,” Dr Choudhary said.

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