RACGP to upskill GPs in harm minimisation and AOD use

Morgan Liotta

23/10/2019 3:53:51 PM

A new education program is designed to help GPs develop skills in addressing alcohol and other drug use in their communities.

Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program
The government-funded program aims to assist GPs nationwide in supporting their patients who are experiencing alcohol and other drug use.

The RACGP has released the Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program website at GP19, outlining the program in the accompanying handbook and training pathways flowchart.
Under the $7.9 million initiative, funded by the Federal Government to deliver alcohol and other drugs (AOD) education to GPs around the country, the college has developed a program tailored to meet the needs of practitioners delivering care in all areas.
The program is designed as an adaptable resource that can suit the unique circumstances of different patient bases. It encourages participation from rural and remote GPs, and assists doctors in treating at-risk groups, including:

The RACGP will work closely with Primary Health Networks, Local Health Districts and other AOD treatment service providers to ensure the promotion of local treatment pathways.
According to Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Addiction Medicine network Dr Hester Wilson, the program will provide tailored training for doctors working in different communities and settings.
‘One pathway will feature face-to-face education sessions for metropolitan and some regional areas. There will also be self-directed learning options available for GPs to complete online at their own pace,’ she said.
‘Another pathway will use video conferencing software to deliver online training sessions so that doctors living outside of our cities don’t miss out on this learning opportunity.
‘Training GPs in the bush is essential because residents in remote regions of Australia are particularly at risk for drug and alcohol misuse. Doctors working in these areas are often isolated and treating patients with complex morbidities.
‘We must ensure they are equipped with the training they need to help their patients.’

In addition to helping GPs talk to patients about AOD use, the education program encourages collaboration to develop a whole-of-practice approach to appropriate prescribing of pharmaceuticals, with the aim to implement best practice approaches to safely and effectively support patients to minimise harm and improve health and wellbeing.
The program includes Essential Skills Education, Treatment Skills Training, and Advanced Skills Training for GPs who will be required to take on a leadership role and share what they have learnt with their colleagues.
Applications for the RACGP’s Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program will officially open in early December, with the program modules launching from early 2020. Further details are available in the program handbook.
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