GP21 to go fully digital

Morgan Liotta

30/07/2021 3:52:01 PM

The RACGP’s annual conference is transitioning to a fully digital event with revised dates, to ensure the safety of delegates amid the pandemic.

GP21 graphic
GP21 will run across Friday 19 – Sunday 21 November.

The GP21 Program Committee, in consultation with the RACGP Board, has made the risk-management decision to move GP21 from a hybrid event to a fully online conference, amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, lockdowns and restrictions.
Dates of the conference are postponed to Friday 19 – Sunday 21 November 2021.
In a letter to GP21 delegates, the college said the decision to transition to a full digital conference ‘has not been taken lightly’.
‘We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience, especially to those of you who were travelling interstate. The health and wellbeing of our members and their ability to continue to support the community response to COVID-19 remains our top priority,’ the letter stated.
Dr Anita Muñoz, GP21 Committee Chair and RACGP Victoria Chair, told newsGP the changes to the conference are not expected to impact the overall experience.
‘The GP21 Committee is aware that the much-anticipated face-to-face conference has had to go online, so we will be working very hard to make that online experience as interactive as possible,’ she said.
‘The benefits are that we’re still able to convene our conference and still able to put on an event that celebrates learning in general practice, and also draws together college members to network and interact.
‘And we can do that in a safe way.’
Dr Muñoz said the digital platform will also help to engage a broader audience, allowing attendees across Australia or internationally to attend.
‘We can convene [the conference] in a way that doesn’t exclude any members because of the impact of the pandemic,’ she said. ‘We want to be able to offer an equitable experience for all members and not leave anyone behind.’
The GP21 program features a range of topics, including aged care, women’s health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, COVID-19, and GP wellbeing, in what organisers say will provide an educational, engaging and inspiring experience.
Dr Muñoz is set to facilitate several of the sessions and will be present throughout the conference to network with delegates. But her key role has been in organising the clinical content for the program.
‘I can say that the program is going to be really rich and varied and exciting, and certainly not something to miss out on,’ Dr Muñoz said.
‘I encourage people to participate online, because we’ve got some amazing presenters, and some really interesting topics, and we are making this conference very relevant to day-to-day general practice to ensure that members access high-quality education, but also do that in a fun and novel way.’

The GP21 Committee has also reportedly invested a lot of time and effort into making the online experience interactive and engaging, while maintaining COVID-safe measures.
‘I know that in many ways these ongoing changes to an online environment are disappointing and frustrating,’ Dr Muñoz said.
‘But we have to keep everyone safe.
‘I think we accept that this pandemic has been very impactful, and hopefully next year we will be able to return to a face-to-face conference.
‘This year, safety is the key consideration.’
GP21 runs from 19–21 November. A full program overview and registration is available on the RACGP website.
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