Personal, Professional Healthcare at the Bay
Dr Peter Garrett, Service to Glenelg Community Hospital for almost 4 decades
Dr Peter Garrett has played a pivotal role in the history of Glenelg Community Hospital for the better part of 4 decades.
As a physician, Board member and friend of the Hospital since 1980, Peter is able to recount how the hospital has adapted to a changing landscape as we acknowledge his retirement from the GCH Board at the October AGM and his continuing career as a trusted physician.
Peter consulted in the Glenelg area for more than 35 years and currently practices at the Mawson Medical Centre in Brighton. Fondly he tells of how in a digital age he still calls upon his trusty Telex when referring clients to specialists, a list of names he has compiled and continually updates to ensure his patients have the best medical support team available to them.
Commencing his career at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide’s western suburbs, he shares a different picture of the current induction medical professional’s face today.
“You’d learn in a hurry back in the 70’s when I first commenced my career. We had incredible responsibility, on my first day as a doctor I was running the Emergency Department with other intern colleagues. I can also remember a time without all of the advancements that we have come to now rely on such as ultrasound, CT’s and MRI’s. Instead we would rely on clinical grounds, it wasn’t too long ago that you would have little other choice than to operate on a patients abdomen to find out what was happening inside rather than a scan,” recounts Peter.
During his early years as a medical professional Peter, like his brother, offered regional training as part of the St Johns Country team, offering important advanced first aid training throughout South Australia.
He went on to develop a keen interest in plastic surgery, and hospital medicine which supported his introduction to GCH in 1980.
“It’s quite different today, but when I started out as a GP we would see our patients very closely through all stages of their medical care. I would consult at the practice but also quite often be right there at Glenelg Hospital admitting my patients and overseeing their medical, surgical or palliative care back when the hospital offered these services.
I also took a very keen interest in actually assisting in many operations and in the latter years hand and upper limb surgeries.”
It wasn’t long before Peter made a name for himself at GCH and found himself sitting on the Board of Management in the mid 80s. He was also involved in various committees of the Board and a member and chair of the Planning, Medical Advisory and Patient Care and Pharmacy Committee at various times.
As Board Member for 34 years and chairperson of 8 years he saw the hospital through a time of great change including the closure of many major units including the obstetrics department that welcomed many babies right up until the mid 90’s, and the changing landscape of the health care system generally in South Australia.
“The hospital has been through some tough times and we have needed to adapt, but I think the past 2 years have really positioned the hospital to stand strongly for the foreseeable future.
“It had probably been a long time coming that we would need to make the transition toward more of a day surgery system.
“This has now provided great focus and moving forward we really know our place and this means we can concentrate on providing best practice as well as the best specialists for our people.
“For example we are quickly earning a well-deserved reputation as a niche hospital for eye health, endoscopy and plastic surgery and these are very important considering Adelaide’s ageing population,” adds Peter.
When asked what sets GCH apart Peter quickly explains it’s the people.
“Staff are incredibly loyal because they genuinely care about our patients, I dare say that any hospital is only as good as the nurse taking care of you and when you put this with the very homely environment of GCH, you have a place that people actually want to visit for their health care.
“In many ways we have never had that sterile feel that can make patients feel uncomfortable about their treatment, but while still meeting and exceeding national standards.
“You are a name at GCH, you’re not just a number.”
Glenelg Community Hospital congratulate and thank Peter for many years of loyal service, not only on the board but on the ground as a contributing medical professional and look forward to his continued involvement as a member of the Medical Advisory Committee.