Podcast 14: Alcohol-related harm in general practice


(43 mins)

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GP team Liz Sturgiss and Justin Coleman bring the GP Sceptics podcast back to life, and this time it’s all about alcohol…but not in a good way.

Liz leads a Monash University project called REACH — for you, that’s “Reducing alcohol-related harm in General Practice”. As usual, I’m just the guy who asks the dumb questions on your behalf, as you while away your time during coronavirus lockdown.

This podcast is all about encouraging behaviour change.

The experts in the podcast are Liz herself (you’ll recognise her distinctive voice and smart questions) and two of our favourite GP-experts (see below) who have built their careers on maximising the chances of someone reducing their alcohol intake as a result of an ordinary consultation with their GP.

Nothing fancy, but if every GP got 10 per cent better at it, the effect on Australia’s physical and mental health would be formidable.

Dr Paul Grinzi is a GP in North Melbourne who educates about alcohol and other drugs for the RACGP. We ask him about his tricks of the trade when it comes to taking an accurate history of alcohol consumption, and he describes how to subtly prompt patients to come up with their own ideas of what might motivate them to change.

I loved his concept of GPs being ‘actively curious’ in what makes the patient tick. Listen in to find out how to become a ‘travel agent of change’.

Dr Hester Wilson is a Sydney GP, a lead clinician in the GLAD (GP Liaison in Alcohol and other Drug) Project, and Chair of the RACGP Addiction Medicine Network. She discusses the new Australian Guidelines on reducing health risks from drinking alcohol (2020).

Although you may have never thought of yourself as a cheerleader, Hester describes how GPs should cheer people on towards healthier behaviours.

Finally, Liz takes me to task with a ‘What would Justin do?’ dilemma, which quite frankly was my easiest yet. I blitzed it!

Happy listening to your 43 minutes of GP education. Soundcloud and Apple links will be added soon.

About Dr Justin Coleman

Justin is a GP in Brisbane and Director of Education for GPs in the NT. He edits a medical journal and two medical textbooks, and is a medical writer and educator. Further details at https://drjustincoleman.com/
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