By Brie Snare
INTERACTION with people is the best thing about Carol Middlebrook’s job.
Carol is the practice manager of Westside Medical Centre and the Camden Haven Medical Centre.
The mother-of-two was awarded for excellence in practice management on the North Coast last week.
She was completely shocked to hear her name announced at the presentation dinner hosted at Rydges last Saturday.
The award is a North Coast GP Training [NCGPT] initiative.
This organisation runs workshops and other education and training opportunities for 50 medical practices from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie.
It was the first time Port Macquarie has hosted the presentation dinner for the organisation.
Carol’s award was one of the most prestigious handed out on the night.
She has taken part in weekend workshops with NCGPT for the last few years.
The owner of both Westside and Camden Haven practices, Dr Debbie Kors, nominated Carol for the award because of her inspiration to staff and ability to build enthusiasm within both teams.
“Her close attention to detail ensures every job is done exceptionally well,” Dr Kors added.
When her name was announced out of the 50 centres, Carol did not register at first.
“I wondered who that woman was,” she joked.
“It was very humbling, particularly to be among other managers who I have a huge amount of respect for.
“It shows respect, particularly coming from a highly regarded medical training company.”
Carol took on her role three and a half years ago, starting at the centre in Laurieton.
A year later, the development of Westside began and once construction was complete the following year, Carol doubled her workload to manage the new centre as well, which she has done for the last two years.
She has been a medical receptionist for 14 years.
“I love the patient contact and I still find the time to get behind the front desk to welcome people into the centres,” Carol explained.
“That’s where my first love of this job lies.”
Carol says both teams are different but fabulous in their own way.
Another difference between practices is demographics, she said.
Laurieton has an older population whereas Port Macquarie’s patients are more diverse.
“More general practitioners are always needed to ease pressure on the hospitals,” Carol added.
Staff at the practices are all passionate about up-skilling, taking part in regular training and educational opportunities.
Increasing allied health services in the area is a main focus for the centres, Carol said.
A stronger presence of physiotherapy and dietetics are two areas Carol mentioned were needs for the community.
Westside has recently expanded, but has plenty of space to expand further in the future allowing space for services such as these, she said.
Carol is married to David Middlebrook and the couple have two adult offspring, Dane and Alana.