It just gets better and better as you get older
Family Doctor Week – July 21 to 27
Dr John Saul – Tasmania
Dr John Saul is part of Eastern Shore Doctors, a practice that has four clinics and 35 doctors located between the Hobart suburbs of Lauderdale and Bellerive.
“You need 35 doctors for 20 FTEs these days,” Dr Saul says.
“We get the opportunity to practise semi-rural medicine down here too because of some of the locations. We all try and encourage doctors to work at out of area locations.
“It’s great being a family doctor. You really don’t know what you’ll get – acute emergency, mental health.
“At the moment I am treating a woman and also her great grandson. There’s 80 years difference between them.
“You just get involved in so much of what they do.
“As a family doctor, it just gets better and better as you get older. Nine out of ten problems that present to GPs, we can usually handle ourselves.”
Dr Saul does some work in rural areas, particularly in Bridport on Tasmania’s north-east coast.
Sometimes on holiday, he even does some locum work in Queensland.
“I was born in Bernie and grew up in Tassie. I have three grown kids. I wanted to go to university in Hobart for rowing and sailing, and I got in.
“Once I started to get involved in medicine, I realised how enriching it was. It can be a grind, but the patient contact is so fulfilling.
“One of my patients was an elderly lady who had an intellectually disabled son. A few years ago, about 18 months before she died, she said to me ‘when I’m gone, he’ll be your responsibility’.
“To have someone express that much faith in you is pretty touching and very strong.
“He has family around who look after him, but I do oversee it. I have known him and the family for 30 years and I will probably be looking after him for another ten years at least. Our two families keep an eye on each other these days. We often see each other in the moorings.
“We have some really good doctors here. Registrars are trained well. We do a lot of palliative care here too.”
Published: 15 Jul 2019