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New Women in General Practice Committee reveals key objectives


Morgan Liotta


10/08/2022 3:50:42 PM

Advocacy and mentorship for women in general practice are high on the agenda, according to the Committee’s Chair.

Female GPs talking
The new Committee will help to strengthen efforts to address key issues facing the female GP workforce.

Educate, elevate, empower, enhance, encourage.
 
These are the key objectives of the new RACGP SA&NT Women in General Practice (WiGP) Committee.
 
Launched last month, it is the second committee dedicated to representing and supporting female GPs and women’s health, following on from the precedent set by RACGP Victoria’s WiGP Committee.
 
Deputy Chair of the RACGP SA&NT Council, Adelaide-based GP Dr Sian Goodson has been appointed as inaugural Chair of the new Committee, and already has many items on her agenda.
 
Inspired by the prospect of bringing more female GPs into leadership roles, Dr Goodson told newsGP she is looking forward to the advocacy, education and policy opportunities her new role will offer.
 
And while the first meeting focused on introductions and learning about each other’s experiences, Dr Goodson says the goal now is to align the Committee’s strategy to the college strategic plan.
 
‘We have a diverse group [on the Committee] of GPs at different stages in their careers,’ she said.
 
‘We’ve got metro, rural and [international medical graduate] representation … all with different experiences of working in general practice, which is fantastic.
 
‘[We now need to] work out how we’re going to use this amazing group of people to do good for our female GPs in South Australian general practice.’
 
Dr Goodson currently practices at Paralowie Family Health in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, as well as working as a clinical director for the Better Medical group for practices in SA and Victoria.
 
She says the roles have helped raise her awareness of the issue of gender inequalities in general practice, particularly around salary, which was highlighted in a recent report.
 
Supporting women in and outside of the general practice setting is a key objective of Dr Goodson’s newly appointed role.
 
‘Unfortunately there are lots of stories – which I’m sure are not completely gender specific – but lots of people not being well supported either in their workplace or culturally within general practice,’ she said.
 
‘So we are looking at how we can help with mentorship and support for women in general practices and in general.’
 
Dr-Sian-Goodson-article.jpg
Dr Sian Goodson is the newly appointed inaugural Chair of the RACGP SA&NT Women in General Practice Committee.

Another issue Dr Goodson raises is less-than-ideal working conditions for females.
 
‘GPs on contracts and registrar working conditions are not very female friendly,’ she said.
 
‘There’s no maternity pay or sick pay, often it can be quite a difficult environment. We are looking at ways we might support and advocate for women in that sort of arena as well.’
 
According to Dr Goodson, practice support staff, including nurses and administrators, are often female and not well paid, which is why she is also adding ways to better support these valuable roles to her agenda.
 
Likewise, with growing concerns over attracting and retaining medical graduates to general practice, the WiGP Committee can also play an important advocacy role for female junior doctors.
 
‘This is a looming crisis,’ Dr Goodson said.
 
‘We want to make female GP career pathways as appealing and attractive as possible so that we can bring people into our network and our profession and nurture them.
 
‘Having a strong female mentor at an early stage in your career is often something that people don’t find or may not have access to.
 
‘We want to help in that space.’
 
The SA&NT WiGP Committee meets four times a year. More information and expressions of interest to join are available on the RACGP website.
 
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