The Practice was founded by Dr John Kramer on 4th May 1981. He commenced solo General Practice at 41 Beach Street after completion of training with the Family Medicine Program of the RACGP. Subsequently several other doctors joined the Practice, staying for varying periods of time. Dr Judy Haines came as a part-time Assistant in 1986, and remains a vital part of the Practice into the 21st Century.
A major focus of the Practice, apart from service provision to the people of Woolgoolga and District, has been the teaching of young GP’s in training, and Medical Students. Regular patients will be aware of this through contact with both groups during their routine visits. This aspect enables these doctors of the future to receive a good exposure to the health problems of the person in a far more realistic setting than can be found in a big city hospital. It also encourages an even more detailed assessment of patients’ health problems as they are assessed in greater depth under such conditions.
In 1985 the Practice relocated to its current site at 49 Beach Street, Woolgoolga. In 1988 the building was transformed, being completely rebuilt. It was doubled in size to accommodate four consulting rooms, two treatment rooms, and appropriate office space and patient areas. Since then the basic configuration has remained unaltered, but significant changes have occurred regularly. Computerisation of all aspects of operations has been achieved Regular backup of electronic records with secure off-site storage is standard procedure, to ensure maintenance of these vital records under all conditions.
The Practice has an appropriate mix of staff to be able to provide almost all general medical services. These include management of chronic illness, acute presentations, immunisations of all age groups, women’s health, palliative care, home visits, after hours care, aged care, skin checks and treatment, employment and insurance medicals, WorkCover and Third Party consultations, travel medicine.
Dr John Kramer has particular interests in Indigenous Health, ADHD and related problems both in children and in adults, Mental Health and Palliative Care. He also is heavily involved with the teaching of Medical Students, both within the Practice and via the UNSW School of Rural Health, based in Coffs Harbour. He has a part-time position as a Senior Lecturer with the University of NSW. He holds other positions with the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice, North Coast GP Training Ltd, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. At times these commitments take him away from Woolgoolga, creating longer waiting times for appointments. The understanding of the many patients who see our other doctors at such times is greatly appreciated. Dr Kramer is often able to still have input into the care of such patients by direct contact with the treating doctor.
The Practice provides a team approach to care, with one main doctor for each patient wherever possible, and the opportunity to consult “in house” with other doctors as and when required. Similarly the use of Practice Nurses has increased considerably over the past year. This enables more efficient use of the doctor’s time, while also allowing a more thorough team-based approach to health care. Given the ongoing doctor shortage throughout Australia, such approaches are vital to maintaining and improving our high standards of health care.
The Practice is conscious of the need to continually monitor and review our operations. To this end we have already twice successfully negotiated the three year cycle of Practice Accreditation. 2014 sees us preparing once more for this rigorous examination of our standards.