RACGP records strong results in medical training survey

Matt Woodley

10/02/2020 2:14:34 PM

But bullying, discrimination and harassment remain issues throughout medical training.

Students in exam
Nearly three quarters of registrars responded that RACGP exams are run fairly.

The joint Australian Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) and Medical Board of Australia Medical Training Survey, the first of its kind in Australia, canvassed the opinions of almost 10,000 registrars undergoing medical training across the country.
Overall, doctors in training reported positive experiences; 78% would recommend their current training position to other doctors, while 76% would recommend their current workplace as a place to train.
The RACGP performed strongly in a number of areas. More than three quarters of the 1183 GPs in training rated the quality of their orientation ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 84% said they received ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ clinical supervision.
The RACGP was the highest performing medical college when it came to meeting the needs of registrars, four in five of whom would recommend their current training site to other doctors.
Nearly three quarters of registrars responded that RACGP exams are run fairly, but only slightly more than one in two said that the exams ‘always reflect the college curriculum’.
Improvements are also required with regard to bullying, discrimination and harassment, which respondents said remains an issue in medical training across the board.
The survey found that one in five doctors in training (22%) felt they had personally experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination in their workplace, and 33% had experienced or witnessed this behaviour.
RACGP trainees experienced less bullying, harassment and discrimination than the overall cohort (14% vs 22%). They also witnessed less bullying (14% vs 27%), reported it more frequently (41% vs 35%), and noted that it was followed up more often when it was reported (54% vs 52%). 
However, RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said there is still much to be done to stamp out bullying and discrimination.
‘The bottom line is that bullying, discrimination and harassment don’t belong in any workplace,’ he said.
‘We are speaking to Regional Training Organisations about these issues and the upcoming rural conference in Alice Springs will provide another opportunity to work together for the collective benefit of our future GP workforce.
‘The profession-led delivery of general practice training in Australia will commence from January 2022, and combating bullying, discrimination and harassment in that training will be the highest priority.’
Dr Krystyna de Lange, inaugural Chair of the RACGP National Faculty for GPs in Training, said she is ‘extremely proud’ that many of the survey’s results reflect the ‘wonderful experience’ she had as a general practice registrar. But she did not shy away from what could be done better.
Dr de Lange said there is ‘substantial room for improvement’ in relation to bullying, harassment and discrimination in medical training environments, and said the new faculty will look to improve channels of communication between the RACGP and trainees
‘The GPs in Training Faculty takes these statistics very seriously and looks forward to working with members and other stakeholders, such as Regional Training Organisations and GPRA [General Practice Registrars Australia] to reduce this figure and ensure every general practice registrar can train in a safe and supportive workplace,’ she said.
‘The survey also highlights other areas for improvement, particularly when it comes to our exams and effective communication with our registrar members.
‘We are here to ensure a well-trained, connected and healthy general practice workforce into the future, and to protect and support you to become the best GP for your community.’
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