RACGP 2018 Presidential Forum: ‘General practice needs a unified voice’

Amanda Lyons

21/06/2018 9:40:16 AM

The RACGP 2018 Presidential Forum gave members an opportunity to get to know their candidates and learn more about their election platforms.

L–R: Dr Bruce Willett, Dr Jags Krishnan, forum chair Ali Moore, Dr Harry Nespolon, Chair of RACGP Council Dr Tim Koh.
L–R: Dr Bruce Willett, Dr Jags Krishnan, forum chair Ali Moore, Dr Harry Nespolon, Chair of RACGP Council Dr Tim Koh.

The RACGP’s Presidential Forum was held on Tuesday 19 June at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne.
Chaired by journalist Ali Moore, the event allowed all three presidential candidates to outline their election platforms and take part in a panel discussion about issues that are important to general practice in Australia today.
Dr Tim Koh, Chair of the RACGP Council, was also present as a panel member.
The presidential candidates who participated in the panel were:
  • Dr Bruce Willett, Chair of RACGP Queensland and general practice supervisor for more than 25 years
  • Dr Jagadish (Jags) Krishnan, an examiner for the RACGP and director of the Australian General Practice Alliance
  • Dr Harry Nespolon, former director of GP Synergy, a registered training organisation for general practice in New South Wales
Each candidate had the opportunity to discuss three major topics relevant to general practice and answer questions from the audience and Ali Moore.


Topic one: How will GP education need to change to stay relevant to patient expectations of care?

Dr Harry Nespolon
‘High-quality registrars are important, which requires a stable, high-quality training program to attract the best and brightest.’
Dr Nespolon would like to see the RACGP provide such a training program through the return of the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, as well as quality lifelong education with external validation.
However, Dr Nespolon has been clear in his desire to change the RACGP system of planning, learning and need (PLAN).
Dr Bruce Willett
‘As the RACGP steps back into training, it represents a fantastic opportunity.’
Dr Willett would like to see greater cooperation between the RACGP and other medical and general practice bodies in Australia, as the AGPT program returns to its jurisdiction, to help achieve excellent training and teaching for young GPs.
Dr Jags Krishnan
‘Times are changing. Technologies are evolving. Patient expectations are changing as well.’
Dr Krishnan would like to ensure that general practice training and continuing professional development (CPD) are updated to keep up with new developments in the world of medicine and primary healthcare, and offer greater training and support for international medical graduates (IMGs).
Topic two: How can the RACGP support practices to ensure viability?
Dr Jags Krishnan
‘General practice in the current funding model in unsustainable.’
Dr Krishnan would like to see the burden of funding concerns lifted from GPs so they can focus on delivery of care. He would like to achieve this by encouraging unity across the medical profession to help advocate for the sustainability of general practice.
Dr Harry Nespolon
‘It’s not just about money, it’s about the way the money is earnt.’
Dr Nespolon is concerned about the decline of GP-owned practices. He would like to provide greater support to practice owners, as well as strong advocacy to change the business model and make it more financially viable.
Dr Bruce Willett
‘The RACGP is ideally placed to advocate for general practice.’
Dr Willett believes it is important for the RACGP and the primary care sector to convince the Federal Government that funding for general practice is a worthy investment, as well as changing the funding model to allow money from other sources than public funds.
Topic three: What is the RACGP’s role in advocating on issues of social conscience?
Dr Bruce Willett
‘Social issues impact on patient care, so it behoves any college to have a view.’
Dr Willett also clarified that there is no one-size-fits all approach to social issues, and that different issues may require different responses, including position statements, discussion papers and option papers.
Dr Jags Krishnan
‘[Responses to issues] have to be in the members’ voice – if there’s no time to consult, stay away from it.’
Dr Krishnan believes it is important to ensure that any position taken by the RACGP has been thoroughly consulted with members first. If the members will it, the RACGP should issue a position statement.
Dr Harry Nespolon
‘Doctors have a proud history of advocating for social issues.’
Dr Nespolon believes advocacy on social issues is important, but that straying from core issues relevant to general practice may alienate members. In his view, the RACGP should pick its battles but not be afraid to take on the issues that affect general practice.
Unity across the profession
One areas in which all three GPs strongly agreed is that it will be important for the incoming RACGP President to maintain positive relationships with other medical bodies throughout Australia.
Dr Bruce Willett
‘The RACGP offers a unique opportunity to increase cooperation.’
Dr Harry Nespolon
‘It is vital that we work together … disunity completely destroys us.’
Dr Jags Krishnan
‘Every RACGP member must get there and vote, and every organisation must vote to show unity … general practice needs a unified voice.’

The Presidential Forum can also be viewed in shareGP.

Presidential Forum racgp elections racgp president

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Sheila GPT3 Registrar   22/06/2018 8:03:28 AM

I believe that the RACGP, ACRRM, GPRA, the RTOs and GPDU need to be unified.
These smaller factions only serve to decentralised the way GPs interact. We need to unify and lobby for what GPs need through advocacy and seeking policy with intent to improve the efficiency of general practice.

RomanMakohon   2/07/2018 5:17:47 PM

I agree with the above,that we need more unity as GP bodies