A NEW general practice clinic in Bendigo hopes to provide country-style general practice that meets the needs of whole families.
It comes as Bendigo health professionals warn of a continuing shortage of general practitioners in the city.
Three doctors are staffing the clinic, with another beginning in a few months time.
The clinic anticipates its books will be open to new patients for at least three or four months.
Practice director Kirby White was inspired to become a general practitioner by her family's doctor in Charlton, who dedicated all his time to seeing the town's community.
She and fellow director Nicole Townsend decided to bring "really good country general practice" to Bendigo.
When I moved to Bendigo I realised that the old, traditional way of general practice was being lost.Kirby White
"When I moved to Bendigo I realised that the old, traditional way of general practice was being lost," Dr Kirby said.
"We have lots of large clinics, lots of bulk-billing clinics, clinics that don't do home visits, don't do nursing home visits.
"We wanted to provide long consults, we want to see patients from when they're born to when they're 40. I want to look after families, that their whole family sees me as a GP and I provide their care and visit their sick kids in home."
Dr White said doctors at the clinic believed in looking after all of the patient, not just their acute needs.
Staff plan to offer a minimum of 15-minute consultations, stretching as long as an hour. They plan to visit homesand nursing home, to suit all the needs of the patients.
Dr White said some patients signing up to the GP Clinic had been with their doctor for four decades when the practitioner retired.
She said a huge cohort of older doctors had retired from practice in Bendigo, but not enough young doctors were coming in to replace them.
Dr White said many people were excited to get on the books on a new clinic.
But the clinic will not be bulk billing its patients.
Dr White said bulk billing had forced clinics to see a large volume of patients to stay financially afloat, creating short consults which disadvantaged the patients.
The clinic will instead operate on a graded fee schedule, with no out-of-pocket fee for consultations on children less than six-years-old.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.