24 Oct 2017

GP17: Foundation of patient-centred care

24/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

GP17 is set to offer GPs from all over Australia what they most want at the annual RACGP conference

ICC Sydney, the venue for GP17
ICC Sydney, the venue for GP17

GP’s year is full of almost innumerable opportunities to attend conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, discussions and other events all over the country. So why, in the face of an almost overwhelming array of professional events, should they attend the RACGP’s annual conference – GP17 – to be held at the new International Convention Centre Sydney 26–28 October?

‘We have listened to our members’ feedback following all of our recent conferences and made changes to offer them the best event possible,’ RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told Good Practice. ‘This year’s conference offers attendees what they have been asking for and provides opportunities for the type of educational and professional development activities they have told us they want – and need.’

With the theme, ‘General practice: The foundation of patient-centred care’, GP17 will deliver education of the highest quality, with a focus on better systems and data, education and research, health equity, quality care, and professional skill-building.

According to Dr Guan Yeo, GP17 Convenor and Chair of RACGP NSW&ACT, consideration of member feedback means the 2017 conference will go beyond what is usually offered at similar events.

‘Attendees of any conference would receive a range of abstracts and presentations, but we are trying to make a difference by having two clear skill-building streams that will have workshops that are at least 90 minutes long,’ he told Good Practice. ‘Because the feedback that we got was that people really wanted to include work on their skills at the conference.’

Those two new streams to feature at GP17 are ‘Clinical skills’ and ‘Professional skills-building’.

Clinical skills workshops:

  • Travel diseases: A world without boundaries
  • Diagnosis, treatment and surgical options for cancer patients, across all tumour streams
  • Sexual health
  • Managing chronic pain: Evidence, patient experience and clinical skills
  • Eyes: Seeing what’s new on the horizon
  • The weekend warrior: Soft tissue injuries
  • Medicinal cannabis: Let’s hash out the facts

Professional skills-building workshops:

  • The future of general practice
  • Financial and tax management for you and your practice
  • Strategic management: Growing your business
  • The one-minute diagnosis: Think again
  • First things first
  • Leadership, culture and people management
  • Medico-legal: Pitfalls for GPs and practice owners

‘This year’s attendees can really improve their skills in a lot of areas,’ Dr Yeo said. ‘We will still have the usual short abstracts, presentations, and workshops but, on top of that, we’ll have these skill-building streams running throughout the conference.

‘So attendees should be able to improve in many areas of need.’

Professional skills, in particular, is an area in which GPs can traditionally benefit from more assistance. Accordingly, the educational opportunities at GP17 go beyond the standard facts and figures of running a business.

‘We are putting a fair bit of focus on the business of general practice,’ Dr Yeo said. ‘Not just about starting a general practice and the usual financial and tax management but we have, for example, a program on how you present your practice.

‘How you present your practice in such a way that other doctors would be interested in taking up equity in it. How you organise it, how you make it sustainable, how you structure that, as well as the marketing aspect.’

In addition to the skill-building streams, the rest of the GP17 program is packed with educational options for attendees, including active learning modules (ALMs), abstracts, posters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) workshops, clinical emergency management program (CEMP) workshops, and more.

‘GP17 will offer GPs all of the learning opportunities they have come to expect from the annual conference,’ Dr Seidel said. ‘We have again listened to their feedback and developed a program that offers education across the breadth of general practice.’

Additionally, GP17 will feature the pre-conference ALM day on Wednesday 25 October. An especially popular feature, pre-conference ALMs are something GPs requested after finding they often struggled to fit in all of their learning requirements in addition to attending presentations and various networking events.

The conference’s 15 ALMs include subjects such as dermatology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, child health, drug-affected patients, point-of-care ultrasound, cervical cancer prevention, pain management, and exam preparation.

The new and the old

The National Academic Session, Fellowship and Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday 25 October, is an opportunity for new Fellows, their friends and families, as well as delegates from Australian and international medical colleges, to recognise the achievement of Fellowship.

The Academic Session will also feature the presentation of the RACGP’s major annual awards, including the year’s best GP, general practice, general practice supervisor, general practice registrar, and more. The award ceremony is completed by the presentation of the RACGP’s most prestigious accolade, the Rose-Hunt Award, which is presented each year to an RACGP Fellow or member who, in the view of Council, has shown outstanding service in promoting the values of the RACGP.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Convocation will be held on Friday 27 October. All RACGP members are invited to attend the AGM to have their say and raise matters of importance with other members and alert Council to issues important to GPs.

In addition to these more traditional events, GP17 will debut an exciting new RACGP innovation, ‘Pitch Fest’. The first event of its kind for the college, Pitch Fest will allow members to submit ideas, concepts and products that could enter the general practice space to help Australian patients live longer and with a better quality of life.

GP17 attendees will also have many opportunities to come together with their healthcare colleagues and discuss their profession.

‘GP17 will offer lots of fantastic opportunities to mingle with fellow GPs and other healthcare professionals and meet some of our colleagues in person,’ Dr Seidel said. ‘The chance to take some time and have a real conversation with GPs from other parts of Australia is always my highlight of the conference.’

The GP17 social calendar will kick off with the welcome reception on Thursday 26 October. To be held in the exhibition hall, the reception will include a selection of canapés and food stations, a variety of beverages and live entertainment, and is an opportunity to catch up and network with colleagues in an informal setting.

Next up on Friday 27 October is the RACGP national faculties evening, to be co-hosted by RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, RACGP Rural and RACGP Specific Interests. This event gives faculty members and friends the opportunity to get together and celebrate their impact and involvement in general practice, while also enjoying food, drinks and entertainment.

Friday 27 October will also offer some outdoor activity for the early risers. The annual RACGP Foundation walk will give participants the chance to unearth the rich and lively history of Sydney’s Darling Harbour region. The one-hour tour, starting at 7.00 am, will delve into the past and beauty of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney Town Hall and the Queen Victoria building.

The GP17 social season will wrap up on Saturday 28 October with the RACGP Foundation gala dinner, to be held at the newly refurbished waterfront ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Darling Harbour. This black tie event is always a conference highlight and will help support the RACGP Foundation in raising vital funds for general practice research.

Conference guests

As the largest conference of its kind in Australia, GP17 will feature a number of speakers and high-profile presenters that will help to emphasise the RACGP’s position as the voice for the country’s general practice profession.

‘The calibre of guests who want to be part of the conference, including the Federal Minister for Health and the Federal Opposition Leader, underscores that not only is the conference the most significant event on the Australian general practice calendar, but that the RACGP is recognised as the most influential health group in the country,’ Dr Seidel said. ‘Politicians want to hear what Australia’s GPs have to say.’

This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers from all over the world. 

Dr Jay Parkinson will present the conference’s opening keynote address on Thursday 26 October. A physician who trained in paediatrics and preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins University in the US, Dr Parkinson has worked to change how people think about doctors’ visits, challenging the way in which doctors and patients communicate and solve problems. He is Chief Executive Officer and founder of a company called Sherpaa, the first online medical practice in the world.

‘I couldn’t be more excited to come to Australia ... to deliver the opening plenary address at GP17,’ he told the RACGP. ‘A paediatrician and preventive medicine doctor myself, I am pretty passionate about making healthcare accessible for folks.

‘I believe this movement towards smarter healthcare really just capitalises on technology and the internet, and the opportunity to share this at the conference is pretty wonderful.’

Prof Julie Bernhardt, Head of Stroke Division at the Florey Institute in Victoria, will present the keynote address on Saturday 28 October. Prof Bernhardt is on the Australian Stroke Research Network steering committee, is a co-chair for Australian Stroke Trials Network, and was voted onto the board of the World Stroke Organisation in 2014.

‘I have been working in stroke for 30 years and I still find it an important and most fascinating disease,’ she told the RACGP. ‘GPs really are at the forefront of care and I am looking forward to talking at GP17.’

Sir Henry ‘Harry’ Burns will present a research keynote address on Saturday 28 October. Sir Harry is Professor of Global Public Health at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde. He was Chief Medical Officer of Scotland in 2005–14, and is a member of the country’s Council of Economic Advisers.

‘My whole research interest over the years has been to understand how we as doctors can contribute to the creation of wellbeing, not merely managing illness by treating it and preventing it,’ he told the RACGP. ‘So I am coming to tell GPs about my research in this area and underscore the fact that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of illness of injury, and that GPs play a crucial role in developing that complete state of wellbeing.’

Prof Jane Gunn will also deliver a research keynote address on Saturday 28 October. A GP, Professor and Foundation Chair of Primary Care Research, Head of the Department of General Practice, and Deputy Head of the University of Melbourne Medical School, Prof Gunn will discuss the importance of evidence in general practice.

GP17’s closing speaker will be body language expert Steve van Aperen, who is an authority in behavioural interviewing, reading body language and analysing human behaviour.


With more than 95 exhibitors on hand, GP17 attendees will have no shortage of options when it comes to viewing the latest products and services for medical professionals. The exhibition will allow GPs to interact with organisations and government associations specialising in recruitment, education, medical devices and equipment, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, medical publications, computer software, finance and insurance, allied health services, and much more.

The exhibition hall will again feature the interactive product zone, giving GPs the opportunity to ask questions, as well as touch, feel and use the products exhibitors have to offer. The recharge lounge will give people a place to restore both their devices and themselves, with laptops available for checking emails, as well as coffee and even a massage area for weary attendees.

The recharge lounge will also be home to a new innovation in the form of a ‘PLAN zone’, where members of the RACGP’s Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) team will be on hand to answer any and all questions about the new planning learning and need (PLAN) quality improvement activity.

Plan your conference at

GP17 patient-centred-care

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