Inspiration and collegiality at primary care experience day

Amanda Lyons

10/09/2018 3:48:24 PM

The RACGP hosted the day as part of the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare, with colleagues from various countries coming together to learn from each other’s experiences.

Dr Harry Nespolon outlined the Australian healthcare funding model and the challenges it represents for general practice.
Dr Harry Nespolon outlined the Australian healthcare funding model and the challenges it represents for general practice.

The Primary Care Experience Day (PCED), designed as an interactive aspect of the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare (the Forum), was hosted Monday 10 September at the RACGP head office in Melbourne.
‘I think events like this are a really great opportunity for knowledge exchange and sharing,’ Dr Paresh Dawda, a GP, academic and key organiser of the Forum and PCED, told newsGP.
‘That conversation and sharing of what’s happening with other systems is really useful stimulus to think about how we can do things better.’
The PCED consisted of three components, the first involving a site visit to a key primary care practice location in Melbourne. Attendees were able to choose from one of three sites, each representing a different aspect of primary healthcare:

  • South East Melbourne Primary Health Network
  • Emerald Medical Centre, in the outer regions of Melbourne
  • Department of General Practice at Monash University
The purpose of these site visits was to view Australian primary care in situ and reflect on any innovations taking place at those sites in order to stimulate and inspire discussion about primary care.
Jane Bollen, a registered nurse from South Australia who works in general practice, appreciated the experience of the site visit.
‘I went to visit a general practice in Emerald, where we were looking at a patient-centred medical home and how [the practice] has progressed from GP-led care to more of a team-based care approach,’ she told newsGP.
‘The practice has obviously moved very quickly, but a lot of thought has gone into the change, while keeping the patient as the focus of healthcare.
‘They had a good mission statement, so the team actually knew what they were working towards and were thinking of all the opportunities to better the health of their community.’
Following the site visits, attendees returned to the RACGP and heard from President-elect, Dr Harry Nespolon, and Chief Executive of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells.
Dr Nespolon provided an explanation of the Australian health system, including how general practice is funded within that system and the benefits and challenges of this model for general practice now and into the future, particularly in terms of continuity of care.
‘The studies show that the longer patients stay with a doctor, the better their outcomes, and patients generally have a better experience if they’re with someone that they know and trust. And that actually also leads to decreased costs and better outcomes,’ he said.
Dr Nespolon went on to explain the RACGP’s role in providing professional development for GPs and how this relates to the funding they can receive, and reflected on the ways the current Australian healthcare infrastructure has impacted the role of the GP.
‘The GP functions as a physician, a counsellor and, increasingly, an advocate, because the system is really complex,’ he said.
RACGP Chief Executive Officer Dr Zena Burgess is very pleased that the college has been able to contribute to the Forum.
‘Australia’s general practice system has been increasingly recognised internationally for its efforts to treat disease in its early stages and prevent Australians from having to go to hospital,’ she told newsGP.
‘We are delighted to share our ideas around how the RACGP works to establish standards of training, practice and examinations for the general practice profession.’

Dr Dawda believes the RACGP’s involvement in hosting the first PCED in Australia has been very important.
‘I see the college as being the profession’s voice and having the [RACGP] hosting this speaks volumes to the college’s role, and the quality of primary care,’ he said.
‘I would very much hope this is the beginning of a conversation and the beginning of a number of events similar to this.’
Ms Bollen has enjoyed the opportunities afforded by being able to attend the PCED.
‘It’s just great to see and collaborate with colleagues and see how we can move forward together and learn from each other,’ she said.

International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare Primary Care Experience Day

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