GP17 kicks off

Paul Hayes

26/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

The RACGP’s annual conference for general practice – GP17 – got underway in Sydney this morning, with President Dr Bastian Seidel emphasising the college’s increasing diversity and advocacy efforts.

President Dr Bastian Seidel opens GP17 by highlighting RACGP diversity
President Dr Bastian Seidel opens GP17 by highlighting RACGP diversity

‘Why have we become so heavily involved in advocating for our profession? The answer to that is an easy one – because nobody is doing it for us,’ he said to hundreds of delegates at the opening plenary session.
‘When we contribute to the public discourse on marriage equality, end-of-life choices, termination of pregnancies, healthcare in offshore detention centres and health effects of climate change, sitting on the fence is no longer what our members want or what the community would tolerate.
‘It might be uncomfortable; however, our advocacy will always be evidence-based. The community has a right to know where the RACGP stands. And for that, we need to have positions. There cannot be much wiggle room.’
Despite the often-contentious nature of these discussion, Dr Seidel wants RACGP members to focus on what brings them together.
‘We need to celebrate diversity, because diversity is an incubator for creativity and high performance. So, yes, as an organisation we should foster diversity, but we can’t tolerate being divisive,’ he said. 
‘We need to focus on what we share, what we have in common and what is dear to all of us. We need to focus on what we identify with as members of our college. We need to move away from exploiting what sets us apart. We need to stay united. We need to stay authentic and credible. And we all need to demonstrate solidarity.’
Dr Seidel encouraged all GP17 attendees to consider ‘the big and challenging questions that need to be answered’.
‘Let’s advance this dialogue. Let’s progress it here, in Sydney. Let’s make it meaningful,’ he said.
‘We all are the RACGP, something we should be immensely proud of. So let’s celebrate our profession, our college and our members over the next three days here at GP17.’

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