By Dr Sama Balasubramanian
GPRA has been working hard for you over the last six months. We’ve been continuing to seek improved employment conditions for GP registrars; having conversations with the colleges, RTOs and other organisations about creating a better training experience; and speaking directly with registrars about their issues and observations in the GP training space.
Registrars deserve to be valued in the workplace and respected for the unique clinical skill-set that they bring to the healthcare of our communities. But to achieve an optimal GP training experience, employment conditions do need to improve. GP registrars warrant fair and equitable access to remuneration, leave arrangements and other employment conditions comparable to colleagues in other specialist training programs. While this is challenging, in the context of systemic constraints and underfunding of primary care in Australia, as your organisation, GPRA will continue to work to make a difference in this space.
Fostering relationships with the colleges, GPRA is seeking to positively impact the of general practice training experience. I’ve recently met with Dr Allison Hempenstall, Chair of the ACRRM Registrar Committee, establishing links with, and discussing how best GPRA can work collaboratively to support ACRRM registrars. Similarly I have also had discussions with Dr Krystyna de Lange, Chair of the RACGP Registrar Member Advisory Council on working together to support registrars on the RACGP program. I’ve also been working with RLOs from around the country, through the GPRA Advisory Council, to address training program issues and consider other matters raised by GP registrars.
We might have seen some of you at some of our recent events, such as the GPSN First Steps forum at the University of Sydney, which was a great opportunity to engage with prevocational doctors and students, and the networking drinks event run alongside the GP Synergy Fusion workshop. Informal occasions promote social connections and well-being in a sometimes isolating training experience. These functions are a great opportunity to broaden both your knowledge and professional networks, so I encourage you to look out for events we have planned for the rest of 2019.
Looking ahead we will be having more conversations with key stakeholders such as the colleges, the AMA and GPSA about creating better employment conditions for GP registrars, and promoting an understanding that one-size-fits-all models do not necessarily meet the needs of all registrars. I firmly believe there needs to be a degree of flexibility in how employment arrangements are applied to different GP registrars and training practice settings..
Ensuring there are helpful resources available for GP registrars making it through what can be a gruelling fellowship exam process is also front of mind for GPRA. We are excited to be working on revisions to our Exam Book, with particular focus on providing support to ACRRM registrars sitting the StAMPS exam in the Clinical Cases books which are a popular support for self-study for the clinical exams. As well, the GP Companion Guide, is set to relaunch with a new fully revised edition at the end of August.
Remember, the GPRA has a wealth of information on everything from exam-prep to employment negotiation and registrar wellbeing. As your voice and your organisation we directly address your enquiries and advocate for you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.