WONCA Sydney HOC Chair: November 2023

Dear Family Doctors of the world and Colleagues,

We recovered; we reconnected, and we revitalized our sense of selves in the world of Family Doctors at Sydney’s Darling Harbour at the World conference recently. We had a final attendance of 4438 delegates and 117 countries represented from the WONCA world.

Figure 1 Besrour research on Joy in Work

We had a wonderful time, and our learning was deep and wide. Australian Family Doctors were so thankful for the experiences of other Family Doctors around the world which showed how we are different but also how we are the same. It was humbling to hear a session from the BESROUR research center in Canada talk about the wellbeing of doctors for one of the workshop participants to talk about 300 patients in an afternoon of consulting in their context of practice. Many participants attended health systems sessions to find ways forward for high functioning primary care systems. 

Figure 2 Presidential handover Dr Anna Stavdal to Associate Professor Karen Flegg

Figure 3 New Members at Large

Our keynote speakers were inspiring with Professor Trish Greenhalgh on the concept of suffering and transcendence; Dr Anna Stavdal on the developing of core values of family practice; Professor Sandra Eades on the lack of health equity for indigenous Australians and finally on equity day to a brilliant panel with WONCA President elect Dr Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, Dr David Tipene-Leach from New Zealand and Australian indigenous man, Professor Brad Murphy who brought the auditorium of 4000+ delegates to tears and a standing ovation. On Green day we asked delegates to wear green to highlight the need to advocate for the connection between health and climate. Dr Maria Neira from the WHO and Professor Enrique Falceto de Barros described the impact of climate on health outcomes. This was followed by a media conference where Family Doctors amassed a striking sea of green for local, national and international media in the lead up to COP28. What a collaboration! On Sunday we had Professor Michael Kidd describe the unrelenting hardship of public health leading through Covid and we finished this remarkable conference with Dr Iona Health reminding us of the amassed literature on the evidence for investment into Primary care systems for the health of all.

Figure 4 Professors Michael Kidd, Sally Hall Dykgraaf, and Jane Desborough

Figure 5 Dr Trish Greenhalgh

Figure 6 Professor Brad Murphy

Figure 7 Dr Iona Heath

Figure 8 Green Day, WONCA and the Australian Press Conference

Our gala ball was a big hit with the Cheeky Docs band, and I had a great dance off with the excellent dancing of the Family Doctor leaders of Hong Kong and Taiwan. WONCA’s new President Associate Professor Karen Flegg, gave the gala dinner guests a short demonstration of iconic Australian slang.

Figure 9 Dr Jim Innocent Ngoga at Gala Ball

Figure 10 Gala Ball Assoc Professor Flegg

I met many of you and smiled at many more. My conference opening referenced the objective of sparkling eyes, hearts, minds and souls and I do hope that for many of you that objective was achieved. Until we meet again, the next world conference in Lisbon and all the regional conferences in between we must sparkle on. Congratulations to every family Doctor for such an outstandingly generous event for knowledge sharing and for affirming the international message of collegiality and good health for all.

Figure 11 At the Singapore College Event

Figure 12 Ibero Americana and Professor Vivianna Martinez-Bianchi President-Elect

We got to celebrate some legends and welcome new legendary Family Doctors on their journey to great community care. It was inspiring for all. Safe travels until we meet again. Thank you for sharing our amazing profession.

Figure 13 Professors Chris Hogan, John Murtagh and Karen Price

 Figure 14 From Dubai colleagues

Figure 15  Dr Wes Fabb and Marion Fabb

Adj Prof Karen Price
Host Organising Committee chair
Immedicate Past President of RACGP