Dr Colin Gunter is a GP supervisor based in Carlingford. He generously shares his knowledge with GP Synergy registrars as a presenter at the annual Fusion workshop.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Sydney, in Newtown, and then went out to Parramatta for high school, so I’m a Sydney sider born and bred.
I came to medicine on the suggestion of a girlfriend. I was going to do physics and or maybe optics and she said, “Why don’t you apply for medicine?”, and I said “OK”, so I did.
What made you choose GP?
I was doing physician training and fairly deep into that – doing renal medicine and a bit of haematology – and it kind of got too much in the sense that I would never see my family.
We had had a child by then and my wife would bring our child into the common room for a weekend picnic just to see me, so I decided that I’d become a GP and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.
What do you like most about being a GP?
What I like is the relationship with people. I like the diversity, I do like undifferentiated presentations, which keeps you on your toes and the continuity. When you’re a physician the mantra is that there is always an explanation, and general practice sometimes there isn’t.
What was your motivation in becoming a GP supervisor?
I’d previously been a medical educator without being a supervisor, and that was to overcome the isolation of general practice and to become, and maintain, my relevance within the rapidly changing field of general practice.
The natural extension of that was to become a supervisor because it’s a more one-on-one relationship with registrars, and I think that’s so valuable in both directions.
I’ve been a supervisor for about 10 years, so I’ve supervised a few registrars in that time.
What is the best aspect of being a GP supervisor?
Hanging around with young people! It’s their youth and their enthusiasm, the closeness to fresh knowledge and their capacity and willingness to challenge.
Your presentation at the Fusion workshop was on deprescribing inappropriate medicine in older patients, is that a special interest?
It’s certainly become a special interest because, Prof Parker Magin introduced me to the work he was doing and Prof Sarah Hilmer as well. It’s just a no brainer really. When you randomly open patient files and you think “How many medications are they on?”, “Do they need them?”, “What damage am I doing?”.
It was a natural development of having been in general practice for quite a while.
Are there any other areas or aspects of general practice that you’re particularly passionate about?
I do shared antenatal care and I see lots of children. I like that transition from seeing the child to seeing the adolescent to seeing the young adult by themselves. Their willingness to come back is as much from the familiarity and comfort if anything. But it’s wonderful to see the evolution of the person from infant to adult.
You were awarded the 2016 GP Synergy Supervisor of the Year Award, Nepean, Western and Northern Sydney – was it a surprise?
Yes, I don’t know how that happened. You don’t expect it, it means that somebody has made the effort to nominate and that’s good, I like that.