Opinion

RACGP President on rural generalist disappointment


Harry Nespolon


17/02/2020 3:30:47 PM

Dr Harry Nespolon says overlooking the RACGP is not a good start for greater collaboration on rural health.

Man on rural property
The RACGP will continue to work hard – and in collaboration with all involved – to ensure Australians in rural and remote communities can access to quality care.

It was cause for celebration in 2018, when Australia’s two general practice colleges signed the historic Collingrove Agreement to lay the groundwork for a national rollout of rural generalist GPs.
 
We felt we were entering a new era, one in which the two colleges could collaborate and unite to tackle Australia’s longstanding shortage of GPs in the bush.
 
But last week’s announcement has been a setback.
 
We were disappointed by the news that the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) would receive 100 funded places for rural generalism training, while the RACGP has received none.
 
We firmly believe the extra positions should have been open, not tied to a particular college.
 
The better option – by far – is providing general practice registrars the choice as to the college with which they wish to train.
 
Our disappointment stems from the fact RACGP Rural has worked closely and constructively with ACRRM and Rural Health Commissioner Professor Paul Worley over the past three years to create Australia’s first national rural generalist pathway.
 
Despite this setback, we will continue to work hard – and in collaboration with all involved – to ensure Australians in rural and remote communities can access the quality care they deserve.
 
The RACGP remains committed to working as a united general practice front to tackle the ongoing needs of rural and remote communities, which are crying out for rural generalist GPs.
 
We are excited by the possibilities presented by the transition to RACGP-led training, and we are working collaboratively with all Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) ahead of the 2022 transition.
 
For our part, we can report that the RACGP Rural Generalist Fellowship is shaping up nicely. Young doctors have told us they want robust, flexible and well-supported training in the new Fellowship – and that is what they’ll get. The RACGP continues to train the most rurally based practitioners.
 
We firmly believe our Rural Generalist Fellowship will cater for the needs of young doctors and upskill them to address the needs of communities in rural and remote Australia.
 
Our priority is to ensure Australia’s future GPs are drawn to us by the endless possibilities of a career in general practice, including the ability to live and work in the rural and remote communities so deserving of their skills and expertise.
 
We are seeing more and more young doctors approaching us, drawn by our ‘Become a GP’ campaign demonstrating why general practice is such a fulfilling, varied, interesting and inspiring career.
 
As we work to fill the existing rural and remote training places delivered through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program, we will continue to push for a united general practice in which GPs are supported to deliver quality care in rural, remote and urban locations.
 
This announcement aside, the RACGP will continue its dedication to support and train doctors to deliver high-quality care across every part of our vast nation.
 
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Dr Tawhid Mohamed Sayed Hassanien   18/02/2020 9:02:03 PM

As someone who had first hand experience with ACRRM training program which does not compare to the RACGP, I make me feel very sad. The out come is not normal and raise a lot of questions


A.Prof Christopher David Hogan   21/02/2020 9:37:14 PM

I suspect some politicians are playing the old game of divide & conquer


Dr Peter JD Spafford   24/02/2020 6:59:28 PM

Not really surprised Harry, ACRRM is not out to train GPs, only doctors to work in rural hospitals and possibly do a bit of GP work on the side. Their rural generalists may only do only 6 months is GP land in their training and would probably never be able to work in a "normal" urban GP practice. In fact in the beginning ACRRM training required NO GP experience. I find it amazing that they demand the same vocational accreditation and recognition as a GP trained by the RACGP. We have ACRRM "rural generalists" here and none of them work in GP more than a couple of sessions a week. It is not the solution to rural GP workforce. The RACGP should stick to training GPs and if some would like additional skills like doing anesthetics etc. then let the relevant college do the training as has always been done. Please Harry, do not think that ACRRM is training rural GPs, they are not.