Each new life delivers joy to doctor

Kate Sears from Frankly Frankston chats to Jolyon Ford, the newly appointed Clinical Director of Women’s Health at Peninsula Health, about motivation, his most rewarding career moments and why you shouldn’t stress over organic food.

How has the change of positions treated you?

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I am really enjoying my new position. I am no stranger to full-time public work as this is a common career path in the UK, but at the same time I had really enjoyed my experience setting up a private practice at The Bays Hospital in Mornington over the last five years. When I was offered the job of Clinical Director of Women’s Health at Peninsula Health it was a difficult decision to give up the practice I worked hard to set up but also to leave the patients that I developed a great rapport with. The rewarding aspect of private practice is being able to develop that therapeutic relationship, especially during pregnancy care, and guide someone through what can be a challenging experience. Likewise, in gynaecology it is very rewarding to follow patients up and make sure they are improving. In my new role I can make changes to improve the service of the whole department and therefore benefit a larger number of patients in the whole community. Like all jobs it can be rewarding and challenging, but I enjoy every day I am at work and it is exciting to see some of the changes we introduced having positive results already.


What’s been the most rewarding experience of your career?

I am lucky in my field of medicine that the rewards still come on a regular basis. Even today I helped someone deliver their baby and feel honoured that I was there at one of the most special times in their lives. The most rewarding times are when you have helped someone through a time of immense tragedy, such as losing a baby, which is such a rare but awful experience, only to see them brave their way through another pregnancy and be there to help bring another life into the world. Of course, it’s a time of very mixed emotions - grief and joy at the same time - but again it’s an honour to help guide women and their families through momentous life experiences.


What’s the best health advice you can give our female readers?

This is going to be boring but the core advice for ideal health is a good diet and regular exercise. Don’t sweat about the small stuff like which superfood or antioxidants you need – most of that stuff makes minimal difference. People are not getting sick because they are not eating organic or having enough kale or quinoa; they are getting sick because they succumb to the intense marketing of unhealthy processed or sugary food and drink. Stick to the fresh food aisles where possible. Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation and keep your body fit. Exercise is a great way to clear the mind.


What does the future hold for health services on the Mornington Peninsula?

The Peninsula population is growing at a steady pace and in women’s health we are becoming large enough to provide care for many conditions without women having to travel to the city. My goal in the next few years is to allow these services to grow, and I hope to develop improved services for high-risk pregnancies, gynaecology outpatients, more streamlined management of prolapse and incontinence, and for the early diagnosis of causes of pain such as cysts and endometriosis. On top of that, Peninsula Health is expanding its research interests, which we aim to become part of. The next five to 10 years could also be an exciting time for the whole hospital, but it’s too early to say anything else at this stage. Watch this space!


What motivates you?

Seeing the results of my work is, of course, very rewarding. This can be on a personal level as a doctor but now on a larger scale.  Seeing that our service is improving over time is immensely satisfying. What gets me out of bed in the morning is the chance to work with some amazing doctors, midwives and nurses, as well as the other awesome staff in the hospital.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love spending time with my wife, Jo, and two girls. Lily loves playing music and Rose and I play guitar, go swimming and go rock climbing when we can. Music is our day-to-day passion with a great music room in the heart of the house. I also love making furniture, baking bread and in the summer swimming in the bay.