Bringing training back to the RACGP will be transformative

Karen Price

23/04/2021 12:14:05 PM

The move will improve outcomes and encourage more medical students to become GPs, writes President Dr Karen Price.

The profession-led, community-based document.
The transition to profession-led, community-based general practice training aims to achieve a sustainable pipeline of safe, competent, and confident GPs and rural generalists.

There has never been a more exciting time to become a GP.
After years of hard work, consultation and planning, the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program will once again soon be under the control of the RACGP – where it should always have been.
This is a watershed moment for general practice.
The global pandemic has demonstrated how critical primary care is in providing quality support to the Australian community.
Often with change comes discomfort, especially from those directly affected. 
But let me be clear: this is about enhancing the experience for our GPs in training, and providing quality general practice care for all Australians; rural, remote and urban.
Last year, the Department of Health (DoH) paused the transition to college-led training to reassess its approach. The RACGP took this opportunity to listen closely to DoH needs and concerns and develop its own training model to address the challenges of the current system effectively and efficiently, while at the same time minimise disruption for participants.
Drawing on best‑practice research and evidence, member experiences, expert advice, and broad consultation with the profession, we developed a model that addresses the most pressing issues facing general practice today: 

  • The steady decline in applications for the AGPT Program
  • Misalignment between available workforce and community needs in rural and remote Australia
  • Inconsistent use of technology
  • Varying quality of supervision
  • Significant variations in educational programs
  • Unreliable access to high-quality primary care for some vulnerable communities
We recently presented our proposed training model to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and the department, and it received extremely positive feedback; we now have the DoH’s support to share it with you.
This is a transformative moment in specialist medical education history.
We will be introducing RACGP Service, which is designed to increase supervision capacity and help provide services in marginalised communities, resulting in improved training outcomes.
Aside from providing a high quality training experience for future generations of GPs, efficiencies that we realise by consolidating the current delivery models will enable us to reinvest those savings  into our wrap-around support and evidence-based training model.
Our model aims to achieve a sustainable pipeline of safe, competent, and confident GPs and rural generalists. It retains the best parts of the AGPT Program and Remote Vocational Training Scheme, while creating a more efficient, nationally consistent, and locally responsive approach.
Of course, ongoing consultation with key stakeholders and representative groups, including the Regional Training Organisations (RTOs), General Practice Supervisors Australia (GPSA) and General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), will be integral to the regionalisation and contextualisation of our distributed model and the transition journey.
But despite the move to profession-led, community-based training, many aspects of our program will still be familiar and reflective of current arrangements, including local delivery and the central role of the supervisor–registrar relationship.
We will build on the good work the RTOs have undertaken to date and collaborate with them throughout the transition. This will enable the shift to be as smooth as possible for those in the communities who have already done so much to bring high standards of education and training to Australian GPs, regardless of geographical context.
There will also be a focus on flexibly matching support with training needs, particularly for those facing specific challenges, and equitable and transparent allocation of training places.
As I mentioned previously, while the change of approach to college-led training is the vision of the DoH, we will ensure savings realised through efficiencies will go towards supporting high quality training and service delivery where it’s needed most.
We encourage you to share your thoughts with us and look forward to continuing the consultation process to refine our model.
From 2023, we will take general practice back to where it deserves to be, which is at the forefront of Australia’s world class healthcare system.
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AGPT Australian General Practice Training GPs in training profession-led community-based training


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Dr James Courts   27/04/2021 8:46:18 AM

“ There has never been a more exciting time to become a GP.”

Uggghhh, don’t get me wrong, there have been many opportunities during the pandemic to assist our patients and colleagues, which can be rewarding and fulfilling.

However, the priority should be made to make GP a sustainable career. Appropriate funding which keeps pace of inflation and building our profession and voice within politics.

That and paying the future registrars a decent wage so they don’t have to struggle juggling two jobs, studying and family life.