‘In this era of uncertainty, we need more global collaboration’

Morgan Liotta

5/11/2020 2:58:17 PM

The presidents of RNZCGP and WONCA are among the international guests at this year’s RACGP conference for general practice.

Dr Samantha Murton, Dr Donald Li
L–R: RNZCGP President Dr Samantha Murton and WONCA President Dr Donald Li will present as part of the GP20 international program.

As part of this year’s digital conference, the GP20 international program is designed to maximise opportunity for engagement with a wider global audience, including the RACGP’s 2000 international members, and promote collegiality between partner colleges and members.
Eight presentations from international colleges, totalling 10 individual on-demand sessions, will explore the experience of COVID-19 in the global health series.
The series will cover lessons from the pandemic and other disasters, the role of general practice in managing a pandemic, including and government’s role in support, and the telehealth experience.
A Q&A session on global health will follow the on-demand sessions, providing opportunity to find out more from the presenters from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) are two of the key partners presenting as part of the international sessions.
WONCA President Dr Donald Li’s presentation will explore how doctors across the globe have been collaborating through cultures, languages and health systems to address the many challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘[I hope my] talk to members of the RACGP will encourage renewed collaboration within your own country, your own WONCA region, and between family doctors across the world,’ Dr Li told newsGP.
‘We have all become more innovative about how we continue our research and share knowledge. We can all learn from each other and build collaborations to support and develop general practice across the globe.  
‘If there is one good thing to come out of this pandemic, it is the growing realisation in many countries of the need for robust, comprehensive, quality primary care, delivered by qualified personnel.
‘We must continue to work together, across nations and in different financing settings to support establishment and improvement of primary care, as well as systems for emergency response and disaster preparedness.
‘In this era of uncertainty, we need more global collaboration, not less.’
Dr Li is honoured to be a part of GP20.
‘I am delighted that so much interaction continues, albeit virtually. I have been really pleased to be invited to speak at numerous conferences, sessions and meetings since the COVID pandemic started – and I will continue to accept such invitations as and when I can,’ he said.
RNZCGP President Dr Samantha Murton will focus on New Zealand’s efforts in the fight against COVID. Her presentation will outline the journey that general practice in New Zealand has gone through this year – the successes, challenges and significant changes – to achieve the country’s low COVID-19 case numbers.
Dr Murton told newsGP she wants to provide an opportunity for Australian and New Zealand GPs to ‘compare and share’ what has been positive and what has been difficult.
‘Sometimes GPs are the unsung heroes of the health system. We work hard for our patients while running a business and looking after our staff and colleagues,’ she said. 
‘In New Zealand, as elsewhere, GPs have changed the way they practice [due to the pandemic] for the sake of their patients, then had to work through the impact on doctor–patient relationships, delivering healthcare in a different way, looking after staff and colleagues while still running a business and doing new things every week.
‘It has been hard work but we, globally, have done a great job. I believe we should all be proud of what we have achieved.’
The global health series will run on-demand from 16 November as part of the international program, with the live global health Q&A session on 24 November at 7.00 pm. More information is available on the GP20 website.
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