College moves create much to reflect upon

3 minute read

The RACGP has been copping flak lately, especially around the new triennium’s QI&CPD requirements


The RACGP has been copping flak lately, especially around the new triennium’s QI&CPD requirements. And it’s been coming from both sides – GPs who must satisfy the requirements, and people and organisations that provide the education.

From the GP side, what seems to have struck the rawest nerve, apart from accusations of insufficient consultation, is the new mandatory self-reflection component, called PLAN, or “planning learning and need”.

Apparently, the first step of the Category 1 PLAN activity is a 300-question online practice profile analysis and self-assessment, from which a report will be generated. After reviewing the report, GPs must identify five areas for improvement, complete relevant activities over the triennium, then review and start planning again.

For my mind, until we see the activity in the flesh, it’s really not possible to have an informed view about it. But given this won’t be until January, it makes sense for people to voice their fears, if they have them, now.

So far, concerns seem to be around online data security – which have been dismissed by the College – and concerns that over time this activity may morph into the College, or even AHPRA, acting as Big Brother over our continuing education.

But what most GPs don’t probably think about much, and why should they, is the effect of the changes on education providers, of which the College is one.

Simply put, education providers, ranging from big pharma, PHNs, not-for-profits, independent commercial ventures, and even individuals, already pay the College to have their activities accredited. Now they’ll have to pay a lot more with a new $2 fee per activity uploaded. This sounds small, but could end up being really big.

The College explains the additional fee as being in the interests of fairness, but it feels like there are simpler options.

Some providers even claim they could go under, leaving the education agenda largely set by the big players, including pharma. Interestingly, few providers are willing to go on the record on this one – complaining publicly about the College when there’s so much as stake feels too scary, they say.

Leaving aside the provider issue, the self-reflection activity sounds fair enough in principle (although I’m a tad bothered by the number of questions). At least it follows adult-learning principles, which didactic lectures don’t, being, at best, a proxy for competence.

Dr Kerri Parnell is the Editor-in-chief of The Medical Republic –

Disclaimer: TMR makes no money from QI&CPD

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