The GP Registrar Association calls off its annual conference in order to review tactics for supporting members
The GP Registrar Association has called off its annual conference in order to review tactics for supporting members under pressure from sweeping changes in the training sector.
GPRA President Dr Melanie Smith said funding cuts and increased competition for training places were among the rapid shifts affecting registrars, and the organisation needed to focus on new ways of supporting and advocating for members.
“Obviously, there’s been a lot of changes in the past couple of years and we’ve had to reassess what GPRA’s brief is and how to support our mission in the most efficient way,” Dr Smith said.
Instead of the planned conference – titled The Future of General Practice 2017 – the GPRA will use the early April date to launch a consultation process on priority issues for members.
“It is exciting,” Dr Smith said. “We want to see how we can better meet the needs of the health workforce in a way that supports registrars and encourages the best people to go into general practice.
“We also want to look at new ways of communicating with members and optimising our resources.”
The review would include consideration of events for sharing ideas and information and the impact of state and federal government policies on the profession.
With health funding cuts squeezing regional training organisations, supervisors and trainee doctors themselves, registrars were less able to take discretionary leave and were under more pressure to complete their training quickly, Dr Smith said.
We’ve had to reassess what GPRA’s brief is and how to support our mission in the most efficient way.
The jump in registrar numbers – to 1500 a year currently, from 600 in 2008 – had made it more challenging for the RTOs to ensure high-quality placements for all registrars in general practice.
Stepped-up time pressures also made some registrars feel pressed to take their exams before they were completely ready, she added.
GPRA also sponsors networks for several levels of training, including prevocational student networks to encourage interest in GP careers and a network of clubs for medical students interested in general practice.
The review will be guided by GPRA’s new CEO, Dr Andrew Gosbell, who was formerly deputy CEO and director of policy and research at the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine.