Q&A with RACGP Presidential candidates

newsGP staff writers

28/06/2018 12:39:19 PM

With voting for the next RACGP President-elect underway, newsGP spoke with each of the candidates.

News teaser
(L–R) RACGP presidential candidates Dr Bruce Willett, Dr Jags Krishnan and Dr Harry Nespolon.

Voting closes on Monday 2 July at 5.00pm (AEST). RACGP members can contact the Australian Election Company for more information on 1800 224 420 or 07 3408 8711, or email help@austelect.com
newsGP provided all candidates with standard questions and reproduced their answers verbatim.
Dr Bruce Willett
Can you tell us about yourself?
I own a practice south of Brisbane near where I grew up and have been a supervisor and medical educator. I have been active at a senior level in the industry, including roles on boards and Chair of GP Supervisors Australia. My background is in medical education but mostly I am a grassroots GP.
How are you currently/have been previously involved with the RACGP?
Currently the chair of the Queensland faculty of the RACGP. I have been an examiner with the RACGP for some 25 years.
What can you bring to the role of RACGP President?
I am experienced in advocacy and have a proven track record of results. During my leadership, GPSA received funding for the first time, built network resource of teaching aids and resource, free and open to all. GPSA grew stronger, more effective, more connected with its members and developed a very close working relationship with GPRA. On behalf of GPSA with the RACGP I successfully spearheaded the campaign against corporates becoming their own RTO - potentially bonding registrars to work with them after completion of training. I would like the opportunity to unite the RACGP internally and with other organisations.
What do you foresee as challenges for the RACGP and the general practice profession?
General practice has been chronically underfunded, this is unsustainable. We are continually being asked to do more and more in every consultation for less and less. We need to think broadly about ways of improving general practice funding and advocate cleverly. General practice is also under siege from those who seek to take a piece of the pie fragmenting patient care: pharmacy, nurse practitioners and online services.
What is your vision for the RACGP, should you be the successful candidate?
The RACGP must see that the general practitioner stays in the centre of patient care. Pharmacists need to be working in our practices to improve care rather than as competition. Similarly, online services need to be integrated with traditional practices. The RACGP and its corporate structure needs to be more responsive and in touch with the membership. Improved collegiate and professional support, feeding back the results of surveys and explaining better the reason why decisions are made are just some ways the college could improve engagement.
Dr Jags Krishnan
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a GP, practice owner and medical educator.
As a GP: Being a GP is not only my profession but my passion. I understand the day to day struggle every GP is facing in clinical practice.
As a Practice Owner: I understand the difficulties in making ends meet with ongoing funding cuts and challenge to stay sustainable.
As a Medical Educator: With my passion to teaching I understand the support needed by trainees in providing them the confidence, so that they can then provide the best care for their patients.
How are you currently/have been previously involved with the RACGP?

  • Been an examiner for the FRACGP exams progressing to be a QA Examiner.
  • Been on the RACGP WA Faculty Board for 8 years.
  • Been a Medical Educator for the IMG Study Group which was founded by me.
  • Been a Medical Educator for the Fellowship preparation workshops.
  • I sit on the Interview panel for FICPI Interviews
  • Represent the college in the WA Clinical Senate
  • Was given the Sam Bada IMG support award in 2011 for exemplary contribution to the support of IMGs.
  • Was given the WA Faculty Legend Award in 2014.
What can you bring to the role of RACGP President?
Passion - Working for the Pride of being a GP.
Leadership - Willingness to listen to the members and engage them to the grass root level.
Training – Strong support to Medical Educators who create the next generation of GPs
Management – Ensure sustainability of General Practice with strong advocacy
Technology – Strongly advocate to provide the necessary tools for members
What do you foresee as challenges for the RACGP and the general practice profession?
Sustainability – To change the funding model to get the government to appropriately fund General Practice.
Training – Standardisation of training modules across the country by implementing the best practices from each of the RTOs.
Cultural Change – To engage and truly represent the membership.
Business support – To provide support to existing and aspiring GP owners in running the practice efficiently and also to be seen as a college of General Practice.
What is your vision for the RACGP, should you be the successful candidate?
Membership Engagement – One email every week on a set day and time and all communications in that email so that members are not distracted with multiple communication channels.
Unity – Engage and involve every organisation representing GPs in Australia with agreed common goals.
Data – Clinical data of GPs to remain with the college to help design the future health policy for Australians.
Independence – Create a strong member focussed CPD program which assures every Australian the quality of care they receive.
GP Owners – Long term plan to support and encourage GPs to be practice owners.
Dr Harry Nespolon
Can you tell us about yourself?
I graduated from Flinders University in SA and obtained my FRACGP while completing my Economics and Law Degrees. I then worked at the Federal Office of the AMA in Canberra for about 4 years. After moving to Sydney to complete my MBA, I worked as a management consultant. Throughout this time I continued to work as a GP. I opened my first general practice in 2003. I qualified for my FAICD and completed a Masters in Law.
I have been Chair of my Division, ML, PHN and GP Synergy. I was appointed to my Local Health District Board.
How are you currently/have been previously involved with the RACGP?
I was a very short time member of the SA Faculty and a longer-term member of the NSW Faculty.
I have been involved in all aspects of the examination process – examiner, quality assurance, question reviewer and standard setter for all the segments of the Fellowship exam.
I am currently the RACGP representative on Medicine’s Australia Code of Conduct Committee. I have been involved as the College representative on a variety of ad hoc committees and recently facilitated an RACGP webinar.
What can you bring to the role of RACGP President?
A long career of successfully leading membership-based organisations through their development and step-change. I have experience as an effective lobbyist in the Federal political and bureaucratic environment. I am practice owner and operator committed to general practice.
As importantly, I do have recognised experience in being a Board member and advisor to organisations the same size and larger than the RACGP. The RACGP has recognised the current Board structure is at least 20 years out of date. However, there was not sufficient experience to deliver a new modern structure acceptable to the membership.
What do you foresee as challenges for the RACGP and the general practice profession?
Improved GP funding is a fundamental building block to improve the overall quality and morale of general practice.
This is not just about remuneration; there needs to be a fundamental change in the way the RACGP deals with members and external organisations. The challenge for the RACGP is how does it facilitate the work of general practitioners. There are many issues to be dealt with in this area.
Secondly, the transfer of the training program must be completed in a sustainable way that sets up the training program to be independent and in continuing to build quality.
What is your vision for the RACGP, should you be the successful candidate?
The RACGP is an organisation that is trusted and respected by its members due to its ongoing actions in supporting all aspects of a general practitioner’s professional lives.
The RACGP is internationally recognised for the high quality of its training program and those who obtain Fellowship of the RACGP.

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