RACGP President issues call to arms with GPs needed on the frontline

Morgan Liotta

30/03/2021 4:11:18 PM

Applications for the 2022 AGPT Program are now open and Dr Karen Price has urged medical students to apply.

Young woman studying at laptop
More than 75% of participants from a recent medical training survey rated the quality of the RACGP’s orientation as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

The RACGP is calling on the next generation of GPs to apply for the 2022 Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program, with applications open until 20 April.
‘Every day in the life of a GP is different. The scope of general practice is unmatched among other medical specialties, and you can pursue what really interests you, such as obstetrics, emergency medicine or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health,’ RACGP President Dr Karen Price said.
‘And of course, GPs are front and centre of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. There’s not been a time in recent history when the valuable role GPs play in our community has been so visible.
‘I’m hopeful that it will inspire those choosing their medical speciality – become a GP, not only do we need you on the frontline, but I promise you will find your work there so rewarding. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from helping patients, becoming part of a community, and caring for someone throughout their life.’
In 2019, the RACGP signed an agreement with the Federal Government to return delivery of general practice training to the college, ensuring community-based and profession-led training.
Survey findings in the recently released 2019 General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) benchmarking report revealed that more than 85% of respondents reported that satisfaction with training experience is ‘important’ or ‘very important’, indicating that registrars expect a high standard from their general practice placements.
Support provided by the registrars’ medical college (48%), ability to access training placements according to preferences (29%), support for exam preparation from training organisations (34%), and wellbeing support (28%) ranked among the most important areas of satisfaction with training experience, the GPRA report found.
Training with the RACGP on the AGPT Program will allow registrars to join a community of more than 23,000 GPs, across urban, rural and remote areas, who have also completed their general practice training with the college.
Findings from the most recent Medical Board of Australia’s medical training survey showed 84% of GPs in training would recommend their training position to other doctors; 76% would recommend their workplace as a place to train; and 68% are confident they will find employment on completion of training.
More than three quarters of the 1183 survey participants rated the quality of the RACGP’s orientation ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 84% said they received ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ clinical supervision.
When it came to meeting the needs of registrars, the RACGP was the highest performing medical college, with four in five registrars saying they would recommend their current training site to other doctors.
Applicants for 2022 AGPT can also opt for the Rural Generalist (RG) training under the AGPT rural pathway, which equips GPs to meet the unique needs of smaller communities in rural and remote Australia.
‘We know there is a lack of highly trained GPs in our country, particularly in rural and remote areas,’ Dr Price said.
‘We need to fix this right away; everyone deserves access to high quality general practice care no matter their postcode.’
In early 2020, the RACGP worked closely with the Department of Health to secure a change to the AGPT RG program, giving registrars more flexibility to choose their training pathway.
The move proved to be successful, with 40% more GPs in training choosing the 2021 AGPT RG program compared to 2020.
The Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP), delivered by RACGP Rural, adds on an extra year of study in the form of advanced rural skills training.
According to the RACGP’s Health of the Nation 2020 report, the FARGP had over 677 graduates and 111 new enrolments from September 2019­–20.
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said the diverse nature of working in rural communities that rely heavily on their local GPs offers both a rewarding and challenging career.
‘Every day in the life of a GP is different, particularly those who work in rural communities, which often don’t have access to nearby hospitals or specialists,’ he said.
‘As such, GPs working in rural and remote communities need a broader range of skills. This is where Rural Generalist training comes in – it provides advanced skills in a range of areas such as obstetrics and gynaecology, anaesthetics and emergency medicine, as well as mental health, palliative care and adult internal medicine.
‘My message to junior doctors considering training as a GP in rural Australia is to go for it, you won’t regret it.’
Applications for the AGPT Program 2022 intake opened on Monday 22 March 2021 and close at 11.59 pm (AEST), Tuesday 20 April 2021.
The RACGP is also hosting a series of webinars for 2022 AGPT Program applicants, running from March through to early June.
More information and applications are available on the RACGP website.
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