New GPs ‘ready to serve’ regional communities

Morgan Liotta

24/04/2024 2:30:04 PM

Queensland’s rural workforce received a boost last week, with 20 specialist GPs joining the profession at a Fellowship ceremony in Mackay.

Attendees at the Mackay Fellowship ceremony
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins (front with hat) with members of the Queensland Faculty and New Fellows in Mackay on 19 April.

The RACGP congratulated 20 New Fellows at a ceremony in Mackay on Friday, honouring their attainment of Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) and the beginning of a career as a specialist GP, following more than a decade of studies.
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins, a Mackay local, led the ceremony to welcome Queensland’s newest GPs as an integral part of the community.
‘The evidence shows that having a regular GP is better than any wonder drug,’ she said.
‘For our New Fellows, this is the culmination of 11 years of study and experience, in medical school, in the hospital system and learning, studying, and working with patients in general practice.
‘Earning your Fellowship means you’re ready to help your patients tackle any problem, from a broken bone or a period of mental health challenges, to a long-term illness or a condition – your GP will help to manage with a team of other specialists and health professionals.’
The RACGP is Australia’s only specialist medical college that offers its Queensland members the opportunity to attend a standalone Fellowship ceremony in a regional location, rather than having to travel to a capital city. With four out of five rural GPs being RACGP members, the President says this provides further support, and aligns with evidence that those who train in rural and regional communities are more likely to stay and work, as well as build a strong community connection.
Recent boosts to address rural workforce shortages have been welcomed by the college, including specialist training for registrars in Queensland, a handful of new medical school programs in regional areas across Australia, and further support for international medical graduates to work in regional practices.
Dr Higgins said the new GPs joining the Queensland workforce are ‘ready to support their communities to thrive’, and highlighted the need for ongoing support from governments and regulators to also ensure those GPs thrive.
‘GPs have a depth and breadth of scope that that varies depending on where they live and the needs of their community,’ she said.
‘We keep our patients healthy and out of hospital, so it’s important that our state and federal governments support our GPs with appropriate funding and support them to work efficiently by ensuring they spend their time delivering quality care, not wrestling with overregulation or arcane hospital processes.’
Alongside RACGP Faculty Council members, and friends and families of the New Fellows, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, Executive Director of Queensland Office of Rural and Remote Health Elisha McGuinness, representatives from North Queensland Primary Health Network, and members of the James Cook University general practice training team also attended Friday’s ceremony.
The event also marked a particularly proud moment for Dr Higgins, with two of her registrars among the New Fellows.
RACGP Queensland Chair Dr Cathryn Hester said it was ‘truly fantastic and heartening’ to be able to welcome 20 new GPs who have trained across North Queensland.
‘The award of Fellowship of the RACGP is an outstanding achievement in anyone’s terms – the result of years of constant effort, long hours of study, and many years of clinical practice and patient contact have allowed our New Fellows to attain this great honour,’ she said.
‘The admission to the specialty of general practice is a highlight of any medical career and recognition from a GP’s peers and college of their excellence in general practice. It shows confidence these new GPs are ready to serve their communities in the broad discipline of general practice independently.
‘Congratulations to our new GPs, and to the experienced GP supervisors whose mentorship and teaching prepared them to be here today.’
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Fellowship FRACGP New Fellows Queensland regional workforce

newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?

newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?



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Dr Brendan Sean Chaston   25/04/2024 10:53:58 AM

Not to take away from the achievement of the 20 new Fellowes after 11 years of intense hard effort but did anyone else appreciate the irony of the juxtaposed article “… pharmacy prescribing trial” . Almost 300 pharmacists in Queensland alone enrolled in 12 month course (presumably predominantly online) to diagnose and treat 22 conditions. At a guess these 22 conditions would represent at least 25% of general practice presentations.

To add insult to injury the trial is coming online in the very same region these new Fellowes have just graduated in.