A special awareness program on the “ice” epidemic sweeping Australia is being arranged by South Australia’s largest general practice training provider, Sturt Fleurieu Education and Training (SFET) to assist doctors looking to enter general practice.
The program is being designed to help GP trainees identify and deal with the issues surrounding ice from drug affected patients and their families.
Christine Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of SFET, said the consumption of amphetamines, especially ice in the community had reached the point where most GPs could expect to face addicted patients in the course of their normal work.
“GPs are often at the frontline and they need to be better equipped to deal with the ice epidemic,” she said.
“Evidence being given to the Federal Government’s National Ice Taskforce is showing that the consumption of ice, among other amphetamines, is now widespread.
“Recent hearings in Mount Gambier show that regional areas are being particularly hard hit.
“The level of ice usage in the community is such that all GPs need to be aware of the issues, dangers and potential treatment protocols surrounding ice addiction.
“This particularly applies to GPs working in rural practices or those in regional areas that do not have ready access to the same levels of support as those in metropolitan areas.
“The problem is not just dealing with potentially dangerous and psychotic patients, but identifying related health issues and the impact it can have on the addicts’ families.”
Ms Cook said training was being arranged to provide an opportunity for GP registrars and supervisors to learn from front line health workers and experts in the field.
“The more information our registrars have, the better prepared they will be for their general practice career,” she said.
“It is important that GP training be flexible enough to address emerging community issues such as the current ice epidemic.
“The Sturt Fleurieu training program, GP365, is designed to prepare GP registrars for the particular problems and issues they could face.
“However, exceptional issues such as the ice epidemic require special educational emphasis and that is why Sturt Fleurieu is developing its special awareness program.”
Ms Cook said information about the ice education program would be provided to all GP supervisors in the Sturt Fleurieu program and their registrars in training.