In 1977 a community health facility was opened at Inala to service the local population who faced significant logistical issues accessing affordable healthcare. Funding was provided through the community health reforms of the Whitlam government.
With the advent of Medicare in the early 1980’s, some private, bulk-billing clinics started offering primary care in the local area. However, these clinics rarely provided chronic disease support. Therefore, residents suffering co-morbidities and presenting with complex poly-pharmacy regimes continued to be referred to Queensland Health’s clinic.
The idea of IPC gained momentum during 2006 through the efforts of two women, Wendy Pilkington, then Executive Director of QEII Hospital and Prof. Claire Jackson, the recently appointed head of the Division of General Practice at the University of Queensland. The catalyst was the ongoing cost of well over $750,000 per annum to operate the clinic.
Prof. Andrew Wilson, then a Deputy Director-General in Queensland Health, agreed to the provision of seed funding. The objective was to assist the new, not-for-profit entity transition into a corporate model whilst continuing to employ staff historically operating from the Queensland Health clinic. On 2nd April 2007, the company, Inala Primary Care Ltd, officially commenced operations under the leadership of the new CEO, Cathy Brown.
Since these turbulent days, much has changed at IPC. A growing team of over eight full-time equivalent doctors now provides patient support. They are ably supported by three practice nurses and a range of allied health providers who operate from the practice. In addition, the practice houses a full-time Diabetic Educator, the Brisbane South Complex Diabetes Service and a Mental Health Nurse. Specialised Vietnamese and Spanish clinics operate every week, attracting patients from across the south of Brisbane. IPC is also a major refugee screening and healthcare service with extensive partnerships across the refugee sector. The diversity of our patients is matched only by the growth in our active patient cohort which now numbers over 2300.
Our teaching and education programs are well recognised with our resident and registrar places highly sought after. In addition, we regularly see GPs from eight practices attend our monthly Journal Club. We receive referrals from GPs across 21 postcodes for the Brisbane South Complex Diabetes Service and offer ongoing liaison to GPs who refer patients for care. Just over 300 patients are concurrently enrolled in this clinic, which replaces the support traditionally delivered in hospital out-patient departments. We aim to supplement this specialty by initiating new services for kidney and respiratory disease in 2013.
We now promise that “No patient will leave feeling like a number because every consultation makes a difference!” This is a bold claim. It also encapsulates much of our philosophy and helps us stay true to fulfilling our mission. Therefore, we strive to keep innovating. Our aim is to be recognised nationally by 2017 as a benchmark general practice. Evidence of how our stretching standards impact on our daily delivery are listed below:
- 2008 IPC commences the PAH funded Brisbane South Complex Diabetes Service (BSCDS)
- 2009 IPC wins Queensland RACGP Practice of the Year
- 2012 IPC pilots & validates diabetic retinopathy screening in general practice
- March 2012 hosted delegation from Hong Kong investigating new models of primary care
- 29th August 2012, IPC Dr Sue Williams uploads the first PCEHR in Australia
- November 2012, patient recruitment commences in NHMRC funded research project assessing the Complex Diabetes Service, now in two sites, against “normal care”
- November 2012, recruitment commences in the ‘Nourish’ trial to educate mothers about bottle feeding strategies which will reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity