28 October 2020
In a watershed moment, GP trainee representatives from across Australia joined to discuss long-standing problems with general practice trainee employment and began to explore potential solutions at a Round Table discussion hosted by General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA).
“This is the first time that GP trainee representatives from the ACRRM Registrar Committee, AMA Council of Doctors in Training, RACGP Faculty of GPs in Training, Regional Training Organisations Registrar Liaison Officers and GPRA have come together to explore a united approach to the solutions which have long plagued general practice training and the employment of GP trainees,” GPRA President Dr Sama Balasubramanian says.
“The problems within general practice trainee employment are complex, multi-faceted, and affect each individual GP trainee on differing levels depending on their individual circumstance. However, common problems were identified and discussed by the Round Table.”
“The main problems identified and discussed were: the current base rates of pay are unacceptably low; power imbalances in the employment of the GP trainee by a small to medium size private business; issues with access to and portability of leave entitlements; power imbalances with placement arrangements and employment negotiations; inadequacies with dispute resolution,” Dr Balasubramanian says.
“The Round Table is not in support of a one-size-fits-all approach to GP training or employment arrangements during training—no two pathways, and no two GP trainees, are the same.”
“In particular, we recognise that the needs of those on rural or remote training programs are different. Nevertheless, the chosen training location or training pathway should not disadvantage any GP trainee in terms of the support, benefits, and resources offered,” Dr Balasubramanian says.
“Nothing about us, without us—no changes to GP trainee employment and training should be decided without the full and direct participation of GP trainees. This Round Table aimed to directly involve GP trainees in defining key problems and considering potential solutions. Agreeing on the common issues and continuing these multi-party Round Table discussions in the coming months provides a unique opportunity to find solutions at a time when significant reforms to the GP training program are continuing to progress.”
“GPRA calls on GP training sector colleagues, Government representatives and other stakeholders to work together for real, tangible and effective changes to achieve a fairer and more equitable solution to GP trainee employment and training conditions in Australia. Such change will facilitate better healthcare outcomes to our communities, who deserve the high-quality, patient-centred general practice care that the future of our profession promises,” Dr Balasubramanian says.
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