Getting to Know … Dr Ravi Jayalath of Balmain Village Health

Dr Ravi Jayalath is a general practitioner at Balmain Village Health which provides comprehensive health care for the Balmain and surrounding communities. The practice has doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who are committed to helping patients find solutions for their health concerns. A former burns and plastic surgical unit fellow, Dr Jayalath has a strong interest in dermatology, skin cancers and minor surgery. He is also interested in men’s general health, adolescent health and paediatrics.
 
Tell us about yourself.
I am an easygoing family man. I’ve been married 20 years and have two children, a teenage son and a daughter. I did my primary medical degree in Sri Lanka and postgraduate degree in Sydney.
 
Why did you decide to go into medicine?
When I was in Year 10 my cat was sadly hit by a car. I teamed up with my older brother and we decided to look after him and nurse him back to health (in those days we didn’t have a vet close by). The cat got better and my mother suggested I should become a vet. I thought about it but decided to study to be a ‘human doctor’ instead.
 
What are the various services Balmain Village Health offers? What can clients expect from a visit to the practice?
At Balmain Village Health we strive to provide the highest level of health care, specifically tailored to Balmain and its surrounding communities. Patients feel will feel a sense of belonging as well as respect at our practice. We are equipped to provide every aspect of general practice care and have a comprehensive allied health team too. Our team is growing all the time to ensure that patients can find a solution for their health concerns.
 
How would you describe your style as a GP?
I am a good listener. This allows me to provide specific and individualised care for each and every patient. Sometimes I’m so thorough that I double- and triple- check things with the nurses and specialists – I might even be a little annoying to them but in a good way, because my patients’ care always comes first. I also don’t take on challenges beyond my expertise and do not hesitate in getting second opinions where appropriate.
 
Do you have any particular areas of interest as a GP?
I have a strong interest in dermatology, skin cancers and minor surgery. I have very meticulous surgical skills as I was a fellow at Royal North Shore Hospital, in the burns and plastic surgical unit, for years. I also have an interest in adolescent health, including mental health and sexual health; I feel I can relate very well to this age group and understand their needs. Additionally, I am interested in paediatrics and am currently completing my Diploma in Children’s Health at Westmead Children’s Hospital. Lastly I have interest in men’s general health, chronic medical conditions, asthma, DM, arthritis and hepatitis.
 
You have expertise in the area of skin. How should we all care for our skin?
Know your skin type. Even in the same ethnic groups various types of skin differ in  vulnerability to the sun and the capacity to repair. Avoid excessive sun exposure (UV radiation) and be aware of UV index levels in daily weather reports and use all methods of sun protection. Eat healthily and spend money on healthy food rather than on supplements unless you are medically deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables daily. It’s well known that regular exercise helps to keep the skin healthy and in good tone. Quit smoking as it effects the blood supply to the skin and its elasticity.
 
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the constant interaction and meeting interesting people daily. I enjoy helping them with their medical problems to the best of my ability. I enjoy watching the patients who come as infants and grow and develop.
 
Do you have a favourite book and why?
Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is still my favourite. My school librarian lent it to me for an extended period of time when I was in high school, as no one else wanted to read it. I recently bought a copy for my son and read it again before I gave it to him. It’s about a man who committed murder, his conscience and remorse – it’s very different from other crime stories. It showed me how complicated and sometimes fascinating human thoughts are.
 
As a father yourself, what advice can you offer new parents?
There are no perfect parents. My advice is don’t get too stressed out about being a perfect parent. Just do what works for you and your partner. Embrace the time you have with your children at that particular time of their life; you will not get that stage back as they grow very fast.
 
Favourite things to do as a family?
My favourite thing to do as a family is exploring Sydney’s many bushwalks, beautiful beaches and stunning landmarks and generally spending quality time with my family. Where the opportunity arises we love going together Batemans Bay, Laurieton and other parts of the coastline.
 
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