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4 May 2021
By now you would have heard, at least informally, of the proposed changes to AGPT and the transition to College led training.
Since Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s announcement in 2017 for the transition of the Australian General Practice Training program to the specialist GP Training colleges, there has been a void of specific information, a fair bit of uncertainty, and the lack of a clear transition plan. During that time, JCU has continued to focus on the delivery of a high-quality GP training program across our regions.
There have been significant achievements, as well as evidence of the value and effectiveness of Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) delivering post graduate specialist training. This has been particularly true of our technologically enabled, regionally distributed, local training model. The 64% retention of JCU GP trained doctors post Fellowship, who continue to work in our region have been a testament to that.
JCU has taken this opportunity to advocate for an evaluation of GP training outcomes, and has been mindful of wider reforms in Primary Health Care and Rural Health across Australia. We aspire to be clear about the purpose that align Australian General Practice Training as a Commonwealth government funded workforce initiative; originally designed for rural, remote and disadvantaged communities in need.
With the release of RACGP position paper, we have a clearer sense of RACGP’s vision for GP education and training going forward and their described principle and aspirations. This illustrates that the messages in our advocacy have been heard, and gives potential indicators of what the college-led training may be like.
Principles described include:
ACRRM had previously released an outline of their Training Principles model in 2019. Though we are waiting on details providing further clarity, it is clear that JCU and ACRRM share many of the same philosophical values, rural generalist focus and training for a broad and dynamic scope of rural practice.
JCU views all of this as positive news. Understanding these principles can help inform us in our future planning. Through our technologically enabled, regionally distributed, local rural training nodes, well aligned to Queensland Hospital and Health Services and the PHNs, we are well positioned to continue our current functions and GP training activities into the future.
New RTO contracts until end of January 2023 will be confirmed soon between Department of Health and JCU, along with the other RTOs. We anticipate that JCU will continue to deliver GP training from 2023, using a model and approaches similar to our current way of doing business, though undoubtedly with some changes in line with the transition.
I encourage us all to be heartened, to continue doing what we do best, and further develop GP training that focusses on registrar scope of practice, integrated training posts, high quality clinical supervision and teaching that is based on communities in need.
As more information and details becomes clearer in this transition of GP training, we will share it with you. Please feel free to contact any of the JCU GP training leaders for queries or insights you have and we will do our best, where possible, to provide a response.
Assoc. Professor Dr Lawrie McArthur
(Acting) Director JCU GP Training