‘A historic day’: RACGP welcomes return of GP training

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

1/02/2023 12:01:00 AM

As of 1 February, the AGPT program has officially transitioned back to Australia’s specialist medical colleges.

A GP registrar with his supervisor.
The RACGP aims to build on the success of the previous GP training program.

It was at the RACGP’s GP17 Conference that former Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt first announced that general practice training would once again become profession led.
‘General practice training is back with the RACGP – where it should always have been,’ he said during his keynote address.
That was in October 2017, and following years of preparation, the day has finally arrived. As of 1 February, the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program is being managed by the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins hailed the transition as a ‘historic day’ for the profession.
‘I want to warmly welcome our new registrars and GP training team members across the nation who are working toward an even stronger future for GP training,’ she said.
Dr Higgins has a deep understanding of the importance of quality GP training. As well as being a GP, she also owns a training practice, where she supervises registrars.
‘I am very passionate about GP training,’ Dr Higgins said.
‘General practice is the engine room of our health system, and GP training is essential to provide our next generation of GPs who will care for our communities into the future.’
The college President said the RACGP recognises both ‘the privilege and responsibility entrusted in us’ as the custodians of GP training.
‘We are committed to delivering a world-class training program,’ Dr Higgins said.
‘I also want to recognise the contributions of all those involved in delivering GP training over the years, including our regional training organisation colleagues, local supervisors and administrators.’
Rural GP Dr James Brown, who was previously a training director at the Gippsland General Practice Training Program in Victoria, has been appointed the RACGP National Director of Training.
He said the college is looking to build on the success of the previous GP training program.
‘Our GP training program prioritises local training delivery with the national support and systems that enable training that meets both community and registrar needs,’ he said.
‘A key piece of our national architecture is our new national Training Management System, which comes onstream on 1 February.
‘This enables streamlined management of training information, supporting registrar progress through training, and providing access to key resources, including the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines.’
Dr Brown said practices and supervisors helping to deliver the training program will see the benefits of locally focused training delivery, but with the support of a national framework.
This includes access to local program staff and educators, who will provide support appropriate for the local context, as well as high quality training resources.
‘Our agreement with the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines will put a best practice resource into all GP training participants hands from day one of the college’s program,’ Dr Brown said.
The transition to profession-led training comes as Australia faces a chronic GP shortage.
As part of the transition, Dr Brown acknowledged a real need to address parts of the country where there are primary care shortages.  
‘The RACGP is working closely with our ACRRM colleagues to coordinate the two colleges’ training programs,’ he said.
‘RACGP and ACRRM will be working with the Department of Health and Aged Care to map GP workforce needs at the local community level Australia-wide.
‘For the first time ever, we will have a holistic national view of GP workforce needs and shortages.
‘This will be a real gamechanger. When we finally have a complete picture of GP workforce needs across Australia, we will be able to direct training initiatives to address areas with GP shortages. All communities should have access to the care they need.’
As part of efforts to address workforce shortages in remote and rural parts of Australia, the RACGP launched a remote supervision pilot in August 2022.
The aim is to enable more GP registrars to have high-quality training options in communities where there is a need, but where there may be limited or no regular on-site supervision. 
With the pilot due to roll out to more communities, Dr Higgins encouraged registrars, practice owners and supervisors to consider joining.
‘It will help get more GPs training, working and living in the communities that need them,’ she said.
For more information on the remote supervision pilot or to submit an expression of interest, visit the RACGP website.
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ACRRM AGPT GP training GPs in training RACGP registrars

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Dr Stewart James Jackson   1/02/2023 6:35:50 AM

Last year I had 2 basic trainees . This year only 0.5. Nothing to celebrate here. We are a large rural practice offering high quality training.

A.Prof Karen Linda Price   1/02/2023 7:04:27 AM

Congratulations to everyone involved from 2017 onwards. A momentous day with more to come. But at least the day is finally here. Profession led Community based training. Well done to all. Perhaps a momentary congratulatory breath in and out before the new mountain range is climbed.
A new era in RACGP history.

M C   1/02/2023 7:25:33 AM

Upsetting to see this article when my experience currently with training is that this is not the reality of college led training. Please stop patting yourself on the back and put your money where your mouth is. The proof should be in the work done not in what you think you will do.

Dr Ajay Kumar Wadhera   1/02/2023 9:21:12 AM

Yes I would like to train a registrar in our 6 doctor practice

Dr Abid Ali Munir Ahmed Jamadar   1/02/2023 11:03:48 AM

I wonder how this is going to change anything for PEP candidates who are IMG's. Once in PEP my experience has been poor in regards to support from college. You are left on your own to navigate. There is no real communication after completion of PEP from the college. How is it important about RACGP getting in the driver's seat for trainees going through PEP pathway ???

Dr Edward Thomas Wu   4/02/2023 9:14:15 PM

General practice training is back with the RACGP – where it should always have been,’ he said during his keynote address.
Very well said. I started my career with the Family Medicine Program run by the RACGP "where it should always have been" I have not looked back since.