A message from GPRA President Dr Antony Bolton
At the moment, I am writing to you from Sydney. We are in our eighth week of lockdown, along with large swathes of New South Wales. Of course, Melbourne is also undergoing their sixth lockdown, many areas of Queensland are coming out of lockdowns, and restrictions remain in place in many areas of Australia.
This is not where we expected to be nearly 18 months into a pandemic. However, it is no surprise that GP trainees continue to play a critical role in vaccinating our communities against COVID-19, while also providing high-quality cradle to grave primary care, all the while juggling the requirements of specialty training.
Look after yourself and each other
I hope you are all taking time to care for your own wellbeing. Despite the restrictions on travel, it is important that you continue to take your leave and take steps to avoid burnout. Please reach out if you are struggling. Although GP training can be isolating, you are only a phone call away from friends, colleagues, your RLO, supervisors, educators, RTO staff and (of course) us here at GPRA—we particularly want to hear from you if your training or employment are affected in any way by the current situation.
I also want to recognise the difficult and important role being played by our prevocational members, many of whom are caring for patients with COVID-19 in our nation’s hospitals. I also want to acknowledge our medical student members who are facing massive disruption to their learning and placements. Please look after yourselves and each other.
The Clinical Competency Exam (CCE)
As most GP trainees will be aware, the RACGP is launching its new exam, the CCE in the 2021.2 cycle. GPRA has continued to advocate on your behalf, and we are hopeful that the RACGP has learnt from past mistakes in the delivery of their exams. If you are studying for the CCE, you can make the most of the resources that are available to you from the RACGP and GPRA.
GPRA is aware that the SA&NT Faculty of the RACGP will not be offering a mock clinical exam for the upcoming CCE. We recognise that the mock clinical exam has always been key in the exam preparation of many trainees and this announcement has caused apprehension amongst affected trainees. GPRA has stressed the importance of exam preparation remaining an integral part of specialty training and will continue to advocate that this function transfer from the RTOs to Colleges post-transition.
Continuing the transition to College-led GP training
We continue to engage with both Colleges and the Department of Health, along with the other GP training stakeholders, in the transition of training to the Colleges. You may have seen that the ACRRM and the RACGP have both published their training models and we will continue to push for more detail and direct communication with trainees about how these models will be delivered on the ground and how those engaged in training at the time of transition will be protected.
These are uncertain times full of change
This is especially true for GP trainees as our profession and training undergoes a time of significant—and continuing—change. You are not alone; continue to be resilient and strong. GP training can feel isolating at times, but know that you have a whole community of colleagues undergoing similar challenges—if you need to talk to someone who is going through the same challenges as you, please get in touch with your RLO or GPRA. We are here to support you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email, Twitter or Facebook if you wish to discuss anything.