Thumbs up for GP training exam plan

3 minute read

The RACGP’s new selection process will focus on choosing candidates who will achieve college fellowship

Medical students have voiced their support for the RACGP’s move to introduce a two-part examination to screen aspiring GP trainees.

The RACGP has been given control of the selection of 90% of next year’s intake of 1500 GP registrars, with ACRRM responsible for the remaining 10%, under the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program.

“We welcome the transfer of the selection process from the Department of Health to the two colleges,” Douglas Roche, Vice President of the Australian Medical Students Association, told The Medical Republic.

The association agreed the new arrangement would allow the two colleges to create a GP workforce that was more tailored to community needs, both in terms of ACRRM’s rural focus and the skills that their respective GP training programs would provide, he said.

While ACRRM will stick with an interview-based selection process, the RACGP is introducing a two-and-a-half-hour exam which will be held on July 22 in capital cities around the country, plus Townsville, the Gold Coast and Newcastle. Both colleges are charging application fees for the first time.

The RACGP’s exam will consist of a clinical-knowledge test focusing on serious conditions and emergency care, and a separate section to assess “situation judgment” pertaining to professional and ethical matters.

“From what we know, (the test) seems to be based on international best practice,” Mr Roche said.

The AGPT, the agency that oversees the nine regional training organisations, had already required applicants to sit a situation-judgment test.

Applications for the 2018 registrar intake for both colleges opened last week and will close on May 8 at 10am.

The exam will make it easier for the RACGP to choose its allotted 1350 candidates for the AGPT program from more than 2000 expected applicants.  It is looking for applicants that align with the “knowledge, skills and approach required of an RACGP fellow”.

The RACGP is developing sample questions to help candidates prepare.

“Often there are people who apply but might not have a particular interest in general practice,” RACGP President Bastian Seidel told The Medical Republic after the selection transfer was announced formally in late January.

“We don’t want to come second best. We want to compete with other medical colleges for the best candidates out there.”

In its interview process, ACRRM will seek candidates with the right stuff for rural practice, that is, junior doctors who are excited about a career in rural or remote practice and committed to becoming rural generalists.

The smaller, country-oriented college will hold webinars for prospective applicants on consecutive Thursdays from April 20 to May 4.

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