Is the RACGP changing? Members think so

3 minute read

The college’s annual report reveals a turnaround both in financials and member sentiment.

The RACGP has nearly halved its projected budget deficit this year while recording a slight increase in goodwill from its members.

While not exactly a win, it’s not the loss it had prepared for.

Back in March, the RACGP cut its workforce by 15% after calculating that it would face an operating deficit of $10 million in the 2022-23 financial year.

It also restructured its membership categories, bringing the total operating deficit for the financial year to $5.7 million.

This was step one of a three-year financial recovery program, with the following financial year set to focus on stability, further improving cost management and developing opportunities for revenue beyond membership categories.

According to the college’s annual report, the 2023-24 financial year is expected to end with a $2m deficit.

The total net worth of the organisation is now $64.7m, around $58m of it held in land and buildings.

Because funding to deliver GP training comes from the federal government, it is required to be kept separate from the rest of the RACGP’s operating budget, meaning that no education employees were cut during the layoffs.

The transition back to college-led training saw the RACGP take on 700 new staff members from the eight regional training organisations.

Revenue for the year totalled $192.2 million, an increase of 44% from 2022, largely driven by the Commonwealth training grants.

In her introduction to the annual report, president Dr Nicole Higgins said the college had some “real wins” in its work to rebuild general practice.

“Never before has the profession had to deal with a diversity of challenges such as payroll tax, the Kruk Review, supporting international medical graduates, addressing rural workforce shortages, and recommendations from the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce,” she wrote.

“In the face of adversity and financial challenges, we have had an unwavering commitment to a strong and fiscally sound college on behalf of members. We made difficult decisions to ensure a thriving RACGP for members into the future.”

The report also included selected results from the November 2022 member census, which show small but significant positive changes in the way members perceive the college.

The proportion who said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the RACGP in 2022 went up by seven percentage points to 48%.

Likewise, the proportion of members who said they would recommend college membership went up by five percentage points for a total of 65%.

The most notable increases were in the proportion of GPs who said the college consults and seeks their views on its work, which went from 39% in 2021 to 54% in 2022, and in satisfaction with its media presence, which went from 32% in 2021 to 53% in 2022.

According to members, the five most important topics for advocacy were funding, AHPRA compliance, bureaucracy and workforce.

Around 20% said they were dissatisfied with the college and would not recommend joining.

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