RACGP and GP Synergy confirm strategic partnership

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

21/01/2022 1:47:10 PM

Constitutional changes voted on by GP Synergy’s membership will help to strengthen the future of GP education and training in NSW and the ACT.

The RACGP and GP Synergy logos, side by side.
GP Synergy members have voted to support the constitutional changes that now give effect to the strategic partnership.

A strategic partnership between the RACGP and GP Synergy has been finalised, after the move was ratified by GP Synergy’s membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 20 January.
Effective immediately, the partnership will see the RACGP become the sole member of GP Synergy during the transition to profession-led training (PLT) in February 2023.
By that stage, it is expected the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) will be leading all general practice training – a transition first announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in October 2017.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price welcomed the outcome of the EGM as a ‘vote of confidence’ in the college’s ability to deliver on the move to PLT.
‘I am very pleased that GP Synergy members have recognised the value in a strategic partnership between our two organisations as we transition toward a strong future for GP education and training,’ she said.
‘We look forward to working together to ensure excellence in primary care for NSW and ACT communities [by] working with other regional training organisations [RTOs] across Australia to establish the transition pathway that is most appropriate for them, so we can deliver the benefits that will come from a profession-led, community-based training model.’
GP Synergy’s EGM had originally been scheduled to take place last month, but was adjourned by the organisation’s Board in response to some members requesting more time to consider the proposal.
GP Synergy’s Chair Dr Ian Kamerman thanked members for their support of the strategic partnership, and said it will provide ‘the best outcome for GPs in training’ during the move to PLT.
‘The strategic partnership … will ensure a smooth transition toward the future of general practice education and training in NSW and the ACT, ensuring continuity, quality and accessibility to primary care within our communities,’ he said.
‘The RACGP and GP Synergy are committed to minimising disruption to both organisations, and to the delivery of the Australian General Practice Training [AGPT] program.’
Dr Kamerman emphasised that the partnership will have no impact on GP Synergy staff members, supervisors, and medical educators who will continue to deliver the AGPT program for the RACGP and ACRRM, and that it will be ‘business as usual’.  
‘GP Synergy remains strongly committed to delivering high-quality education and training to registrars in rural, regional and remote areas through the AGPT’s training program,’ he said.
‘GP Synergy has a strong record of delivering this program and will continue to do so to a high standard throughout the transition period.
‘This strategic partnership and subsequent transition will ensure that there is a sustainable pipeline of competent and confident GPs and rural generalists for years to come.’
To come into effect, the partnership required at least 75% of GP Synergy’s membership to vote in favour of amendments to the organisation’s constitution.
The new GP Synergy Board will consist of nine members, including five RACGP nominees and four that will be drawn from existing GP Synergy directors.
Meanwhile, to deliver the transition to PLT in 2023, the college will continue working with all regional training organisations, including GP Synergy.  
The aim of the move to PLT is to create a new nationally managed and supported program for general practice training that will be delivered locally, with a model that will be community-focused and built on a foundation of high-quality medical educators, training managers, supervisors and training sites.
As well as enhancing the experience for registrars, the transition will have positive impacts for the wider community, with the goal to provide quality general practice care for all people in Australia regardless of their postcode.
‘GPs are needed by their communities more than ever before and we can’t afford to have some communities missing out,’ Dr Price said.
‘It doesn’t matter whether someone lives in a major city or a rural or remote town – everyone deserves strong access to outstanding general practice care.’
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