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FNQ absorbed into ‘truly national’ GP training program


Matt Woodley


10/06/2024 2:31:28 PM

The RACGP has taken on more than 200 additional general practice registrars following JCU’s decision to step away from GP training.

Doctor with medical students
The RACGP has been running most of Australia’s GP training under a national system since February 2023.

Australia’s medical colleges have assumed control of general practice training in Far North Queensland, uniting the program under a national banner for the first time since the transition back to profession-led training.
 
The move comes after James Cook University (JCU) announced it would step away from GP training in February, with more than 200 registrars joining the RACGP’s GP training programs as a result.
 
RACGP President and Mackay GP Dr Nicole Higgins said the college has undergone extensive preparation in an effort to make the transition as seamless as possible for registrars, practices, and supervisors.
 
‘The RACGP has now been running most of Australia’s GP training under a national system that supports local training expertise and local needs for almost 18 months,’ she said.
 
‘While the transition of the other eight regional training organisations to the RACGP last year was almost seamless, the college hasn’t taken this change on lightly.
 
‘The teams working to prepare for the change have applied lessons from that transition to make things as easy as possible for our new staff, supervisors, practice teams, and GP registrars.’
 
She also said JCU and its teams have made a ‘great contribution’ to GP training and that the college is ready to continue the university’s legacy.
 
‘The success of the previous transition, along with the leadership we have in place and the experience we gained during that process, makes me confident our new teams and registrars will receive exceptional support,’ Dr Higgins said.
 
‘We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues and registrars into a truly national Australian General Practice Training program, with open arms.’
 
Alongside the registrars, 34 clinical and operational staff also officially joined the RACGP from JCU, with additional regional medical educator recruitment ongoing. A further four staff joined Joint Colleges Training Services, an Aboriginal-led joint venture of ACRRM and the RACGP which supports cultural education for GPs, success for Indigenous GPs, and GP training for the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector.
 
RACGP GPs in Training faculty Chair Dr Rebecca Loveridge described continuity for registrars and supervisors as a top priority during and following the transition.
 
‘For many of our new registrar colleagues, little will change beyond a login and access to RACGP resources,’ she said.
 
‘Making sure any issues are made known and addressed is key to that.
 
‘The RACGP works with the GPs in Training faculty to make sure that issues are picked up and solved as early as possible. The GPs in Training Council will be open contact with our new registrars to make sure the college understands and addresses any issues that arise.’
 
Following the 2023 transition, more than 92% of GP registrars reported being satisfied with the quality of their in-practice training, while ratings from GPs in training improved in most metrics of the most recent Medical Training Survey.
 
Townsville-based RACGP Vice President and Rural Chair Associate Professor Michael Clements said it is ‘absolutely essential’ to have a strong pipeline of GP registrars to meet Far North Queensland’s workforce needs, both now and into the future.
 
‘While the RACGP will continue to advocate to and work with our state and federal governments to increase support for GPs in northern Queensland and all rural and remote areas, it’s also vital we ensure our systems give rural and remote GP registrars the support they need to succeed,’ he said.
 
‘We’ve put significant efforts into that, and we’ll continue to encourage future GPs to consider rural practice.
 
‘One thing recent Medical Deans reports have highlighted is the growing interest in rural generalism among those approaching the end of medical school. Rural generalism is now the sixth-highest preferred specialisation, and the top preference of around 8% of domestic graduates.
 
‘Northern Queensland is a brilliant place to live and practice. This is an opportunity for us to bring a new generation of GPs into practice in our beautiful, exciting, and fulfilling environment and set them up for success.’
 
The RACGP will continue existing training agreements with registrars, supervisors, and practices for the remainder of 2024.
 
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GP training GPs in training James Cook University Queensland registrars


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