Dr Lucinda Luckett (BA, MBBS, FRACGP) grew up in country NSW and studied medicine at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. An experienced General Practitioner (GP) with a passion for practising holistic, preventative medicine, and treating the whole person to encourage overall health and wellbeing, Dr Lucinda recently joined Balmain Village Health and today she tells us more about herself, her passion for medicine and all things Inner West.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a GP and mother to two young kids (an 8 month old and 5 year old). I grew up in rural NSW and I studied medicine after doing an arts degree. I love a chat and I’m a positive, pragmatic person who likes to have a laugh. I’m pretty unshockable and I believe people would describe me as straightforward, honest and no nonsense – but also fun.
What made you study medicine and decide to become a GP?
If I’m really honest I was a bit lost and I wasn’t loving my job in consulting. I wanted to do something with purpose that would also give me variety and job security (so boring right!). It felt like an adventure, so I applied for medical school and I loved it – which was a surprise to my parents as I’d done arts as my undergraduate and I’m not sure they thought I was particularly studious.
What do you love most about working as a GP?
Definitely the relationships I develop with people, and with whole families. I so enjoy seeing the range of presentations and people from all walks of life. It is so satisfying developing a collaborative partnership with a patient, where we work together and they feel welcomed, cared for and listened to. I really want everyone to feel welcome, no matter their background, body type, sexuality or work… sadly I think there’s still a lot of people who feel discriminated against in healthcare and by doctors. Overall, I love that in a day I can see a toddler with croup, a teenager with depression, an elderly patient with COPD, do shared-care for a pregnant patient, HRT for a woman with menopause and treat someone else with gender dysphoria. It keeps my day so interesting!
What drew you to specialise in holistic and preventative medicine?
I think we all know that our whole selves impact on how we function and feel day to day. If we look at the symptoms only, or our physical self in isolation, then we’re often not treating the root cause. So it’s important to take a holistic approach so that patients can get the best outcomes and feel the most cared for. If we can aim to help patients to lead balanced, joyful, active lives and work on treating things early when they’re more manageable, we get far better overall results.
You grew up in country NSW – what was it like growing up in the country? Do you miss anything about country life?
I grew up living in town so I wasn’t on a farm (which I actually longed for) but my parents – one of whom was a weed scientist and the other a plant breeder (mainly lupins and spelt wheat) – were always stopping to collect samples and look at plants or weeds. I loved doing bush walks and horse riding, floating down the river, things like that. I was pretty nerdy so the rest of the time was spent with my head in a book. The thing I miss most about the country now is being able to get everywhere quickly and easily without traffic!
What made you decide to practice in Sydney and the Inner West in particular?
The food and coffee in the city is just so good, once you’ve been living here a while it’s hard to go back, and the kindred spirits that live in the Inner West make it such a vibrant and progressive place. Living and working locally is a luxury that makes my life so much easier as my partner is a surgeon working long hours (Dr Kai Brown if you need a nice general surgeon for a hernia or gallstones).
What makes Balmain Village Health different to other practices where you’ve previously worked?
I like that the practice has a relaxed vibe that’s not too clinical. I love the collegiality I have with the other doctors and our fabulous nurse, it feels like a really good team. What sets the practice apart is the flat fee. It’s great as a patient to know that no matter what you come in for you will only be out of a pocket a set amount and it doesn’t change depending on the consult. If we spend longer together than expected, or it’s something complex or tricky, you can rest assured your out of pocket cost is the same.
What has changed, if anything, about how you practice medicine or your approach to patients post Covid?
Telehealth!! I so appreciate the introduction of telehealth. It is so convenient for patients to be able to do consults from home or work. I’m happy to do them for all kinds of presentations, not just respiratory illnesses or Covid. Also for many patients who are busy with work, don’t have the time to visit the doctor in person, are away on holidays, or just need a quick script refill of a regular medication, telehealth is super useful. It obviously works better when you’re talking to a GP who you have an established relationship with so it doesn’t replace in person practice, but it does mean we can offer a really great service for people from the comfort of their couch! It also means I can support women with unplanned pregnancy who can’t access terminations in their local area, and that is a much needed service in rural and remote areas.
What are your favourite places in the Inner West?
There’s too many to list! We are regulars at Balmain Library and I always enjoy a walk around Mort Bay or the Bay Run and a swim or a play with the kids at Dawnie when it’s warm. For food, Little M and Bertoni are my go to coffee shops, Baba’s is great and Fabricca is excellent in every way and I hope they stay in Balmain. My family rely on Bonfire Bakery and Victoire for their excellent bread and cakes, and I love the pizza from Tipo 00.
As a mum, what’s one piece of health advice you can give to other mums?
Lower the standard! And prioritise what works for you. I’m not very good at staying at home (well done to those that do!) and I am a much happier, nicer mum when I’m working. I keep food really basic and simple and prioritise a calm dinner and bedtime rather than a fancy meal. I try to make sure I get some time to myself each week, doing exercise and catching up with a friend or my siblings.
To organise a consultation with Dr Lucinda Luckett visit www.balmainvillagehealth.com.au