Mackay ceremony marks college commitment to regions

Morgan Liotta

5/04/2022 2:37:31 PM

A recent Fellowship ceremony in regional Queensland reflects a pledge to support rural and regional GPs and GPs in training.

New Fellows at event
New Fellows with Clinical Professor Karen Price at the RACGP Queensland ceremony, held at the Mackay Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Just a short distance from the Coral Sea last week, a huge career moment was marked.
On 1 April, the RACGP Queensland faculty hosted a ceremony at the Mackay Exhibition and Convention Centre to welcome 37 New Fellows.
It was part of a 2019 commitment to conduct an annual Fellowship ceremony in a regional location in Queensland, making it the only specialist medical college to pledge to hold the occasion outside of a capital city each year.
Following COVID-19 disruptions, the 2022 event was the third of its kind to take place.
‘The ceremonies are such an important moment in our Fellows’ journey,’ RACGP Vice President and Queensland Chair Dr Bruce Willett told newsGP.
‘After a minimum of 12 or 13 years of study, and multiple exams, it is so great to celebrate this wonderful occasion with our New Fellows and their loved ones.
‘Following the pandemic and numerous lockdowns across the country it is wonderful to have in-person Fellowship ceremonies back up and running, especially in regional areas like Mackay.
‘I can say that everyone enjoys the friendly and warm atmosphere of each regional graduation ceremony.’ 
While general practice is a recognised medical specialty, not all medical practitioners working as GPs in Australia hold the specialist general practice qualification of Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).
‘Attainment of the FRACGP signifies that a GP has been assessed as competent across the core skills of general practice enabling him or her to practice safely, unsupervised, anywhere in Australia,’ Dr Willett said.
‘In short, the FRACGP denotes safe, specialised, high-quality general practice care.’
RACGP President Clinical Professor Karen Price attended the ceremony for the New Fellows and over 120 of their family and friends. Staff and medical educators from James Cook University General Practice Training were also there.
Speaking at the event, Clinical Professor Price highlighted the college’s commitment to the regions.
‘This is something that we are very proud of,’ Clinical Professor Price said.
‘The RACGP is a college for all GPs, urban, regional, rural and remote. It is the largest representative college of rural and remote GPs – we must never forget that.’
Clinical Professor Price addressed the New Fellows by outlining the benefits and ongoing support the college provides.
‘Your journey does not end here. In fact, it is just the beginning,’ she said.
‘One of the defining qualities of all good GPs is a commitment to lifelong learning. The FRACGP … is a specialist general practice qualification you should feel extremely proud to hold.
‘The RACGP is here to support you throughout your career by providing you access to like-minded individuals, ongoing training and education, up-to-date news and research and a support network.
‘Don’t be a stranger, your college is there to help at all times.’
Dr Willett said that hosting Fellowship ceremonies in a variety of locations – including rural, regional and metropolitan – is part of the college’s efforts to support GPs and GPs in training across all communities.
‘It has been extremely important for the Queensland faculty and for me personally to commit to a regular graduation ceremony in rural and regional Queensland,’ he said.
‘The RACGP represents four out of five rural doctors in Queensland and across the country … and the college needs to continue to support these hard-working rural and regional GPs and strive to improve its support where possible.
‘As we move to professional-led community-based training I am looking forward to seeing rural doctors supported to work, train and even graduate as close as possible to their communities.’
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