Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

The evolution of Australian medicine sees rise of integrative health

Call for Integrative Doctors to join new Mounties Care Integrative Health Clinic

When it comes to treating pain and chronic disease, many doctors and individuals are turning to complementary treatment and assessment by naturopaths and nutritionists. However, using them as part of a larger, integrative approach to health is part of a growing model of care that is gaining both interest and demand in Australia.

Integrative medicine combines the best of evidence-based conventional medicine and complementary medicine to focus on the total health of a patient. While the concept of Integrative Medicine is not new, leading the way in this sector is a group of practitioners who are passionate about creating a new kind of medical centre and practicing a new kind of medicine. One which is truly patient centred, holistic and focused on a person’s total wellbeing. 

Leading this team is Dr Penny Caldicott, founder of Mounties Group’s Invitation to Health and President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA).

“I pursued integrative medicine after being interested in the bigger picture through my medicine studies. Once working in the community, I started seeing lots of people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and sadly, at that time, other medical practitioners didn’t often understand them or the challenges they faced. I really wanted to help so I started going to conferences in integrative medicine and learning about how we can better examine and help to modify all the influencers that have created the matrix in which a patient exists. In this way rather than only focusing on chronic disease management, we can work to prevent, stabilise and reverse chronic disease and see better outcomes for the overall health of our patients,” explained Dr Caldicott.

“In 2003, we founded Invitation to Health on the NSW Central Coast. We treat all conditions, and patients come for the active listening they receive and for the deep diagnosis we provide by working collaboratively to assess all aspects of their lives. While we practice mainstream general practice, many patients come to our clinic for chronic and difficult to treat conditions that may have been unresolved for many years,” she added.

The Centre has grown steadily over the years and now serves more than 4,000 patients, with a team of 12 practitioners. Fully accredited, the practice offers traditional GP specialist services for commonly occurring health issues as well as preventative medicine. It also provides additional integrative lifestyle health approaches for more complex health problems.

“Our model of health clinic has demonstrated exceptional results in areas such as anxiety, depression, digestive problems, insomnia, allergies, diabetes and other chronic and inflammatory conditions” continued Dr Caldicott.

Together with Mounties Group, Dr Caldicott is expanding her model of care by opening a new integrative health clinic on Sydney’s Northern Beaches called Mounties Care.

“Our Central Coast clinic is often booked out weeks in advance as we try to maintain the demand for our services so we are delighted to expand to the Northern Beaches so we can share our approach with many more patients across Sydney,” added Dr Caldicott.

The new Freshwater clinic will reflect the same level of care and approach that the Central Coast clinic does, with Dr Penny Cladicott seeking expressions of interest from practitioners looking to join her team.

“We are primarily seeking expressions of interest from general practitioners, who are keen to learn and work with other practitioners under this model. It is not essential that interested GPs have any integrative medicine study or experience, but rather they have a passion for our integrative approach. We can help support GPs with integrative medicine training or they can continue to practice within the realm of what they already know within our clinic, supported by the wider clinical team,” said Dr Caldicott.

The new Freshwater clinic will be the first of its kind in the local community and Dr Caldicott and her team are excited to push the boundaries in shaping the role of a traditional doctor to rather focus on holistic health and wellbeing.

“What unites integrative doctors is their unique approach to chronic disease and their commitment to working with the patient to achieve overall wellness. In the process, we’re scrutinising many therapies that were once considered alternative and are now gradually becoming mainstream, using them the same way we’d incorporate any other evidence-based medicine,” she explained.

Up to 70% of the population in Australia and New Zealand use complementary medicine, often alongside their conventional healthcare. This integration is mostly patient-driven and ad hoc, with many patients self-selecting and not discussing the use of complementary medicines with their doctors.

“Part of what makes our approach to medicine special is the integrated team of practitioners who work here. Highly trained and experienced doctors, nurses, naturopaths, nutritionists and health coaches are all under one roof, collaborating for our patients. Often our skills are combined in consultations, enabling patients to benefit from our collective wisdom and experience,” she added.

At a time when almost half of all Australians have at least one chronic disease, it’s safe to say there are a lot of things medicine still hasn’t figured out. Integrative healthcare, however, could prove to be one of these milestone moments that see medicine evolve and take a more innovative approach.

“The old saying of treating the patient’s “body, mind, and spirit” can be regarded as a feel-good phrase. But in fact, we have seen first-hand how they are intimately tied. Considering the way people think, feel, and live their everyday lives is of particular importance for treatment, prevention and overall good health.

“We are so excited to share our vision and experience with a new group of integrative practitioners and more so with the local community of Sydney’s Northern Beaches,” concluded Dr Caldicott.

For more information about the practitioner opportunities at Mounties Care’s new Integrative Health Clinic in Freshwater visit The clinic will be located within the Harbord Diggers precinct at Freshwater, opening in July 2022.