27 May 2020
GPRA propose framework of change to GP registrar employment model
General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) President Dr Sama Balasubramanian has today released a Discussion Paper that offers a framework and key principles for the consideration of changes to GP registrar employment arrangements.
“We insist that the voice of GP registrars be heard; GP registrars must be kept central in discussion about their employment arrangements and consideration of any new employment models. We must strive to have modern, equitable and flexible employment arrangements which considers the circumstances of GP trainees,” said Dr Balasubramanian.
“Our Discussion Paper summarises the major issues with current employment arrangements, from the perspective of GP registrars. A range of potential solutions is also provided, including options suggested by the AMA, the National Rural Health Commissioner, and the RACGP.”
“Importantly, our Discussion Paper provides a set of fundamental principles, which we believe are critical when considering any proposed employment model. We believe this will inform evidence-based improvements to the employment terms and conditions for GP trainees, as well as ensuring the financial viability of GP training practices.”
“For any substantive change to the current employment arrangements, or introduction of a new employment model for GP registrars, it is an absolute imperative that the advantages and benefits along with potential downside risks and unintended consequences be identified and addressed.”
“Given that the management of GP training has transitioned to the GP Colleges, it is timely to also consider potential reforms to employment arrangements for GP trainees.”
The National Terms and Conditions for Employment of Registrars (NTCER) currently provides the basic framework for employment arrangements for registrars in GP training settings. While this framework has been in place for two decades; there have been recurring concerns amongst GP trainees in relation to their employment arrangements and the NTCER.
“The NTCER does not provide for employment entitlements, such as paid parental leave, and there is a lack of portability of accrued entitlements as registrars move between training placements. After-hours billings and on-call allowances are not calculated fairly, and the taking of annual leave is disincentivised. This does not fit the contemporary employment expectations for many junior doctors,” said Dr Balasubramanian.
“In particular, as data in our Discussion Paper clearly shows, first-term GP registrars’ base rate of pay is lower than base salaries for hospital-based medical officers, and substantially lower than first-year registrar base salaries for hospital-based specialties. This is a major disincentive for many junior doctors considering general practice training.”
“With a more attractive employment model for GP trainees, GPRA believe we can go a long way in alleviating Australia’s under-supply of GPs, particularly in rural and remote areas,” said Dr Balasubramanian.
General Practice Registrars Australia:
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