Three-hour mandatory vaccination training fails to consider GP expertise

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

17/02/2021 4:19:12 PM

The RACGP is strongly advocating for any education and training to address GPs’ needs and avoid taking up critical time.

GP looking at computer screen.
The RACGP is advocating that the training be targeted to GPs’ needs and take no more than two hours.

Australia’s vaccine roadmap looks to be on track, with two COVID vaccines approved for use and more than 5000 general practices having put their hand up to take part in the rollout.
But concerns have been raised over the proposed mandatory training for administrators of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, with RACGP members claiming the modules fail to address their specific needs and include redundant information GPs are already familiar with.
Dr Lara Roeske is a member of the RACGP’s COVID Working Group and a longstanding representative of the RACGP’s CPD program.
She told newsGP that education and training is ‘absolutely critical’ to the vaccination program’s success, but that the modules have been designed with a blanket approach indicative of ‘inadequate consultation’ with experts in GP education.
‘We recognise that GPs aren’t the only professionals who will be vaccinating. But in terms of GP needs, what needs to be considered is that there is already a huge repository of expertise,’ Dr Roeske said.
‘We are the nation’s vaccinators – GPs deliver the most vaccinations in this country. With that comes already a level of expertise around handling, monitoring, reporting, cold-chain and infection control.
‘So when education modules for training are being developed, they really should be mindful of that. We don’t want them to be unnecessarily onerous or irrelevant.’
The accredited training modules, offered by the Federal Government, have been developed by the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and currently take approximately three hours to complete.   
However, Dr Roeske says the modules undertaken by GPs ‘must be specific’ to their learning needs, scope of practice and contextual setting.
‘What I mean by that is the role that GPs will play in practices around COVID-19 vaccination is very different to that of a receptionist, a practice nurse, a practice manager,’ she said.
‘GPs have unique and particular responsibilities – they have a clinical oversight role.’
Based on GP member feedback, it is recommended that training modules focus on:

  • use of multidose vials
  • addressing vaccine hesitancy
  • identifying and recruiting priority groups
  • reporting requirements to the Australian Immunisation Register
  • post-release monitoring of adverse events and subsequent reporting.
 Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca candidate on Tuesday, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed the first doses are expected to arrive in Australia by ‘early March, if not sooner’.
In the weeks leading up to the rollout, the RACGP has called on the Department of Health (DoH) and ACN to pursue broader consultation with the college to consider the needs of GPs and their patients in various settings, as well as reduce the time commitment.
‘So not more than 1.5–2 hours. That would seem reasonable,’ Dr Roeske said.
‘Anything longer than that is an impost on delivery of healthcare to patients, taking us away from that important work.
‘We’re dealing with backlogs of patients that need to come in, and we know that the sudden lockdown in Victoria will have put off probably hundreds of patients seeking healthcare that has already been put off.’
As the leading provider of GP education, Dr Roeske says the RACGP knows all too well that training must ‘deliver value, be engaging, and be relevant’.
‘When you’re talking about education, you’re not talking about ticking a box,’ she said.
‘[For that reason] it is so important that it is developed and delivered by peers, where possible, and also that it is a “show me how”.
‘A video clip showing a consultation that revolves around consent would be much more useful than a consent list checkbox because GPs are working with real life people, real life situations, and that dynamic needs to be reflected in the education.
‘With timely and considered consultation, the training packages will actually be improved and then specifically meet GP needs, and therefore be well received and taken up – that’s what’s really important.’
The DoH has responded to the RACGP with confirmation that it will review its training requirements for GPs.
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Dr John Joseph Scally   18/02/2021 8:06:17 AM

I thought it was reasonable although a little tedious at times. Given the massive nature of the logistics involved and other practitioner involvement, it is important we all have the same rule book.
I did learn from it.

Dr Peter Angus MacIsaac   18/02/2021 9:03:17 AM

Would echo the above comments. Having spent over a day in time overhauling the vaccine management practices and procedures in a newish practice, there is a lot of details around the logistics which GPs should at least know about. I dont claim to remember every detail however this course is a useful resource to go back to if needed. If I have comment it concerns the lack of information about how to organise mass vaccination programs - GPs are not used to vaccinating at scale and we may need to do this

Dr Jeanine Suzanne McMullan   18/02/2021 9:11:47 AM

While I applaud the RACGP’s petition for Gp focused training, can I ask if the petition included remuneration of the 3 hours of time spent on this necessary workplace activity and funds to cover the 4 hour locum employed to cover the doctors responsibilities during this time. How else are stretched bulk billing practices servicing working families expected to cover this otherwise? This is postcode health inequality at work.

Dr Roberto Celada   18/02/2021 10:16:17 AM

I think the training is comprehensive and useful. There is a lot information I was not familiar with and it was good to refresh my knowledge of information and procedures I knew. Yes, a lot of the information is applicable to what a nurse does but I think we GPs should also be familiar with. I did vaccinate thousands of people in my 30 year career and I still found this training useful.
The only issue I had was with the short questionnaires at the end of each module. Some of the questions were trivial and vague.
Well, I suppose that it really does not matter what the government process is, we will still complain regardless.

Dr William Robert Thompson   18/02/2021 7:30:45 PM

with all the publicity about how the GPs are going to be the answer to the efficient roll out of the Covid -19 vaccine ,there has still not been any contact from the Govt either Federal or State as to whether we are going to be supplied with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine to be administered to our regular patients in the clinic .
From what has been said by the Minister ,Mr Hunt ,lots of talk about GP Clinics that have been accepted (2500) to open vaccination clinics where you need to take on" all comers" but nothing has been said about the vast majority of patients who expect their GP to organise this in the same way we do yearly influenza vaccination ,Could the College liason with Govt please address this as a matter of urgency ,as there is confusion ++++++ and the number of enquiries from our patients is taking up a lot of time with our Doctors and Reception staff .

Rural GP   18/02/2021 9:12:25 PM

I found the parts I could complete : tedious. In true style, no way to contact the provider of the education. (DoH) I have completed module 2, 6 times and each time to 100% but no further.( freeze) Did the system crash on DAY 1 ?
Few of us will have to deal with the Pfizer vaccine. ?
Is this just a hurdle, as a way to cull the number of practices.?
Does every doctor in the practice need to undertake it.?
Is it manadatory for billing?.
I am not investing in another webinar until they can give us more information.
I fear again DoH will trickle out the vaccines because they dont trust GP's. (eg they have form, remember Influenza last year) and I agree with Dr Thompson, please just get the vaccine out , or at least tell us when.
I am sure DoH does no equate with 3 hours mandatory training with patients who are sick and could not be seen today . Thats the reality for busy doctors .
Agree 1.5hours should be adequate

Dr Alan Graham MacKenzie   19/02/2021 2:18:35 AM

Surely it would be better to have specific modules relevant to our practice locality
Spending an hour learning how to pack an esky with dry ice and Pfizer vaccine to do some yarning or go to a CALD centre is just a waste of time when we will not be doing that in Surfers Paradise.
Please give us training for what we will be doing

Dr Trevor David Hoffman   19/02/2021 3:52:54 AM

On 12/2/21 I made a formal complaint to Health about the program they floated purporting to train GPs to administer COVID-19 vaccines. I wasted over an hour trying to pass the 3 question test in the first module of this training before I gave up trying. I found it personally impossible to qualify for certification to give the COVID-19 vaccine using this training and will not re-attempt it in its current form.
I appreciate the need to conserve precious vaccine supplies, but this program appears to restrict GP access to vaccine supplies and jeopardises the health of all Australians and should be seriously re-thought.

Dr Irandani Anandi Ranasinghe-Markus   20/02/2021 8:34:56 AM

The RACGP should most definitely have had input into designing this training module. Why didn’t they? Now we’ve just got to face the reality and follow the protocol our nursing colleagues have given us.

Dr Felicity Jane Heale   27/02/2021 4:30:08 PM

I am attempting the 4th module. The assessment quiz questions are not answered by the material provided. No matter how many times you read through the information in the module, it is not possible to know whether one wipes the bung before and after accessing with a needle or just before, nor it is possible to know exactly at which steps hand hygeine is required based on information in the procedures described. I have tried finding the information from other sources by searching separately, but have not been able to find it elsewhere in any clear form. To pass this module, you will need to keep one set of answers the same and then just keep re-submitting until you hit upon the magic combination. If we have to do a module with a very specific set of detailed requirements, can they be clear and unequivocal at least? How are we supposed to avoid mistakes when the 'training' is not helpful?

Dr Felicity Jane Heale   27/02/2021 4:43:17 PM

I've now tried doing the module 4 quiz question about 12 times and whatever answer is required to be above 80% eludes me as the answer is not be found in the module -so I'm giving up. So I guess, therefore, that I won't be giving your vaccine. Sorry.

Dr Bathiya Alwis-Jayasinghe   28/02/2021 3:37:09 PM

I have to echo Dr. Felicity Jane Heale's comments on the 27th. This is terrible. Why has not the DoH got the RACGP to help with training relevant to their members who carry the can at the end of the day anyway. Please explain and take corrective action. Thanks

Dr Mary   1/03/2021 5:53:19 PM

I echo your frustration Dr Heale - If any one has any clues to successfully answering module 4 that would be great!

Dr Rosalind Buhay Hiddins   4/03/2021 3:10:54 PM

I too am stuck on Module 4 quiz. I have attempted twice and can't get the exact information from the material to answer 100% correct. Can we at least get feedback on what was answered incorrectly?

Dr M Isaac   7/03/2021 11:00:19 PM

This training is provided by the nursing college! really .. where is the RACGP ? cant they make one for their members?! where is the leadership from RACGP .... or just big words but no action! Where are the experts in training on the college board to show their leadership?!
and I heard it takes 3 hours to finish! wow ..... to give a vaccine in 10 seconds , you need 3 hours training !! OMG ... are these people in La La land or what??
I am out ...

Dr Charles C   8/03/2021 6:36:10 PM

This was the probably the most redundant/irrelevant module I have done in many years! Any information of substance could have been condensed into a few pages (3 or 4, perhaps), instead of the voluminous and arrant fluff and waffle! Goodness!
And I echo the comments above regarding Module 4 being an utterly pointless and frustrating test in permutations and combinations!
Perhaps the GP colleges might have done better to prepare these modules for their Members, rather than leaving the task to a Nursing College!
This is another somewhat self-sabotaging, tedious, and unfortunate example of under-valuing this profession, I'd dare say!

Dr Charles Richard M Horsfall   13/04/2021 5:13:25 PM

Much of this is a waste of time. It seems to be produced by bureauocratic nurses, out of touch with the real world of general practice.
The sequence of questions would change, as would the order of the subsections with-in these. The correct answers were not indicated, so one could not focus where one was wrong.
Fortunately for my sanity, I discovered I was not the only one. I was working in very remote clinics east of Katherine, in the NT. Five doctors plus RNs and AHWs , in various locations. These, in the main all had trouble. If some one was corect the first time, it could not always be replicated the second.
I surmise that it is not supposed to be an exam, but as learning modules, they are terrible.