11 December 2020

Top 10(ish) of everything important, and not, in general practice 2020

Communication General practice RedHerring

As the holiday season fast approaches, TMR has put together a few lists for you, both from an “important happenings during the year you might want a recap on” perspective, and as a practical guide to enjoying a break many people thought might never arrive.

15 best read stories of 2020

This isn’t the absolute top-to-bottom list by traffic, but it’s the ones you might want to read if you missed them

  1. Stop cleaning for a minute and listen: COVID is mostly airborne
  2. How we know COVID didn’t come from a lab
  3. Counting the cost of pandemics: Spanish flu vs COVID
  4. Vale Dr Harry Nespolon, loved GP and RACGP president
  5. Three GPs thrown under PSR bus
  6. Bill pulls CPD rug from under colleges
  7. To the Brisbane GP who helped me turn my health around, thank you
  8. DoH training backflip is ruthless but it may be right
  9. Dear Brendan, re this secretary of health thing
  10. Airlines flouting infection control guidelines
  11. Sonographers bid to come in from the cold
  12. Soory sever isshu – RACGP was warned about exam problems
  13. How to get unwanted PSR attention
  14. There’s a time to doctor and a time to retire
  15. The great measles immunity heist


Top 10 wins of 2020

In such a crap year we thought we’d start with the highs, of which, somewhat strangely, there were quite a few.

  1. Telehealth
  2. Government getting things done
  3. Taking on the PSR
  4. RACGP changing tack
  5. Price of Healius
  6. Vaccine development
  7. JobKeeper
  8. Private equity buying into primary care
  9. Local health tech vendor valuations
  10. Dr Karen Price


OK, now for the lows. Just saying, because people love to say we are negative bunch, but the top 10 fails beat the top 10 highs in traffic volume by about two to one.

Top 10 fails of 2020

  1. RACGP KFP and AKT exams
  2. Victorian health system (not security guards)
  3. The NSW health system (Ruby Princess)
  4. My Health Record
  5. Referral rules
  6. Nudge letters
  7. COVID-19 safe app
  8. RACGP election ballot process
  9. ACRRM election ballot process
  10. Pete Evans

13.5 quotes that may come in handy this holiday season

These gems of wisdom have been lovingly crafted or selected by TMR staff (in response to a survey from me threatening retribution for non-participation and wine for having a go). We won’t be attaching names to any item in case that affects reputations or preconceived ideas about professionalism, but we have hinted at the logic of the selection by pointing to the job title of each selector.

No 1. Hal, Henry IV, Part I

If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish’d for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.

(OK,  I was looking for something random not profound here, but this works and I’ve already spent too long on this thing.)

Editor (clearly not a fan of office side projects)

No 2.  John Steinbeck

Never trust anyone who doesn’t drink and who doesn’t like dogs

Publisher (likes drinking and dogs)

No 3. Anon

Don’t blame Christmas, you were already overweight in August.

Political reporter (who has good BMI, so not sure what’s going on here)

No 4. Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, Rage against the dying of the light 

Sales Manager (who got the quote from the movie Interstellar, not by reading Dylan Thomas – just in case you thought we’d employed the wrong person)

No 5. Marilyn Monroe

If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best

Clinical reporter (whom we thoroughly deserve)

No 6. Anon

Did you keep the receipt?

Sales and marketing director (who is a CFO at heart … also a great cook)

No 7. Anon

We three men from Orient are,

One on a tractor, two in a car

A nun on a scooter, tooting her hooter

Following yonder star …

Print production editor, immediate past editor, and ex News Corp (self explanatory)

No 8. Marie-Antoinette?

Eat the cake

Another reporter (also good BMI?)

No 9. Bill and Ted?

Be excellent to each other

COVID reporter (too much COVID reporting can make you like this)

No 10. Ocean Vuong

To much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it

Webinar and Podcast Producer (pretty heavy for Christmas sure, and, of course, the theatre-trained employee comes up with something this deep, but think about it)

No 11. Dumb Runner

Don’t let the future determine your fate

Specialist Editor (this actually makes my brain hurt, which I guess is what specialist editors do)

No 12. Various

Hold my beer

Chief Operating Officer (always organising people)

No 13 (a). Various

Your presence is all the presents I need

Client Wellbeing Director (who is a single mum who says this to her daughter – who presumably is too young to get her mum any decent presents)

Top 10 streaming review recommendations for the holiday break

Again, we’ve gone to the deep well of our TMR staff for these recommendations. Again, job role usually goes a long way to explaining selections if you are baffled. 

  1. Clinical Reporter

Veronica Mars – Netflix

The titular character is a hard-boiled detective, uncovering the truth behind the biggest crimes in the wealthy Californian town of Neptune – but she’s a high schooler! There’s love triangles, betrayal and a whole lot of deceit. Stay perched on the edge of your seat as you discover that the bad guy you totally thought was behind the conspiracy was innocent all along!

Ed Comment: being a hard-boiled detective, a school kid, and a clinical reporter are much the same thing

  1. Publisher

The Undoing – HBO

Sort of Big Little Lies set in New York but much much better and you find out who did it in just six episodes. Also, you get to see Nicole Kidman repose her role as wife to a major control freak (Tom Cruise?)

  1. Sales and Marketing Director

Love Actually – Netflix

Quite simply the best Christmas film in the world – ever. The End.

Ed Comment: Of course the director of sales didn’t read the question. The thing is, if he did, he probably wouldn’t understand what streaming is anyway. He’s not a boomer. He just isn’t into TV so the whole streaming thing has passed him by. Cute.

  1. Reporter

The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix

It has the little kid out of Love, Actually in it but he’s all grown up with a moustache and leather jacket and still looks about 12 years old and it’s great.

  1. Specialist Editor

Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga – ITV Network, 2002 (analogue?)

The lives of posh people in the late 19th to early 20th century. Some things just don’t change.

For those who were not watching BBC2 on Sunday nights in 1967, possibly on the grounds of not having been born, the television magic that was The Forsyte Saga may be hard to understand. But this was the start of something, the show for which the phrase “TV blockbuster” was actually coined (added colour from Malcolm Bradbury).

  1. COVID reporter

Schitt’s Creek  (obviously) – Netflix

The perfect antidote to the shit-fight that has been 2020. Watch it and have a competition to see who can best imitate Moira’s accent

  1. Webinar and Podcast Producer

Cats the musical – Apple

Only watch this after you’ve had a few for some true escapism. It will make you so angry and confused that you’ll forget all your real-life troubles. A masterpiece of bad storytelling.

  1. Editor

Archer – Fox


One word? that’s a review? As above, not a big fan of office side projects

(You said “short” – Ed.)

  1. Political reporter

Shameless (the US version) – Netflix US (via VPN)

This comedy-drama will introduce you to some of the most hectic and chaotic characters you may have ever experienced on-screen. It follows the life of the scrappy Gallagher family. Just watch it!

  1. Sales Manager

Utopia – Amazon Prime

Worst-timed TV series of all time, or best, depending on what you think about pandemics.

A bit about the Review team

We did a quick personality test (survey) of the Medical Republic team for you so you can get a better sense of who writes the stuff you sometimes read. Names withheld again for obvious reasons.

Cat or Dog: 8 to 3 (Which is about the population norm … good so far)

Nigel, Digger, Millie, Dash

Gin or Tequila: 10 to 1 (We aren’t party animals but we are classy)

London or New York: 6 to 5 (They’re both good, but not in a pandemic)

Air Con or Not: 8 to 3 (Mostly planet lovers)

Degree of separation to an actual doctor: 8 out of 11 have one degree of separation only (true and weird, except of course for the doctor on staff, who technically has 0 degrees of separation)

Here they are, in no particular order:





Penny (ignoring me) and Talia

Next week the team recommends holiday podcasts, bands, reading and recipes. Can’t wait.

Thanks to all our readers and our advertisers for staying engaged in a less-than-ideal year. Hope everyone has a good break.

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2 Comments on "Top 10(ish) of everything important, and not, in general practice 2020"

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Steve Hambleton
Steve Hambleton
1 month 3 days ago

I read the whole thing – I know I am a sick puppy.
Was “To much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it” meant to be “Too much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it”. Either way my head hurts to or too but probably not two.

Helen Wiltshire
Helen Wiltshire
1 month 12 days ago

Thank you for the holiday spirit!