Riverstone Family Medical Practice (RFMP) was conceived in 2007 when Dr Muir and Dr Crockett recognised a wish to set up a practice that built upon their many years of experience, that allowed them to excel in general practice and to make a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of their local community.
Driven by this desire for excellence in the provision of health care and underpinned by a common philosophy of honesty, hard work, team cohesion and support, Dr Muir and Dr Crockett set about making it happen.
While already working with patients from a broad area, from Penrith to Blacktown and Windsor to Carlingford, they searched for a location that would be accessible to existing patients and that was in need of more medical services.
It became apparent that the Riverstone area, with a population of 16,000 and only four full-time equivalent doctors was such a location. While the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney had one doctor for every 400 patients, the Riverstone area had only one per 4000!
Information from the local Division of General Practice, from Blacktown Council and from the State Planning authorities put Riverstone in a zone of health concern. Projections for future health needs recognised a higher proportion of families with young children, of elderly people with complex health concerns, of adolescents with risk-taking behaviours, of young adults smoking and over-using alcohol, of men, women and families suffering the consequences of social and financial stress.
They also learned that the Riverstone area is home to a large number of people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, many of whom suffer the complex health conditions that lead to shorter life expectancy and significant suffering.
It took 18 months to find a suitable premises, to arrange with the owner to renovate and expand the site and to open for patients. They were welcomed and assisted by many Riverstone locals, met the lady who was named on the plaque that opened the building as a Child Health Clinic 60 years before and set up a rapport with many providers of services to the local community. They were fortunate to have an old Rivo boy, Rocky Varacalli, do the building work with an outcome of which he can certainly be proud.
Choosing staff to join the practice depended on finding people who share a similar philosophy, who treat themselves and others with respect, who hold all people as equal and deserving of the best care, who strive for self-improvement and nurture this in others.
The practice was blessed to have its earliest receptionists fit this requirement perfectly. Lee Truscott and Krstina Dundov have been with RFMP since the beginning and are both wonderful in the role, bringing enthusiasm, energy and skills to help the practice thrive.
From the opening day on April 20th 2009, it took little more than a few months before it was necessary to expand the opening hours and to bring in more staff including doctors, nurses and receptionists. As the practice has grown those who have joined RFMP have embraced the practice philosophy, added their own skills, personality and ideas for growth and RFMP now has a team that is truly remarkable.
What is recognised by everyone at RFMP is that its central purpose is the provision of a high quality primary health service. Patients are encouraged to become members of the team and as such to contribute to setting goals for their health, to participate in formulating management plans to achieve these goals, and to take responsibility for their health as much as possible.
The RFMP team is there to support this process, to educate patients and their families in everything related to their health, to respond to feedback promptly and honestly and to do everything in its power to make a positive difference in the lives of patients who choose to join RFMP.