Discrimination during GP training a common experience for many GP trainees


25 March 2021

Discrimination during GP training a common experience for many GP trainees

The recently released GP Trainee Benchmarking Report, published by GPRA, has revealed that almost two thirds (61.6 per cent) of respondents reported experiencing some form of discrimination during their GP training.

Females were more likely to report experiencing any discrimination when compared to males. Of those survey respondents who were working part-time, females were twice as likely when compared to males to have reported experiencing discrimination on the basis of working part-time. Females also reported experiencing more discrimination due to their age and gender when compared to males.

"Women now make up more than 50 per cent of medical graduates, and a large proportion of GP trainees; where GP training was once seen as being flexible and family-friendly, this survey suggests that this is not the case,” said GPRA Board member Dr Rebekah Hoffman.

"Women experience discrimination at higher rates than males based on their working arrangements, often this is due to women carrying the burden of caring responsibilities. GP training is no longer family-friendly and has a long way to go before it can be heralded as a training program that provides flexibility and work-life balance,” Dr Hoffman said.

The Benchmarking Report also highlighted high levels of discrimination on the basis of race, with almost one-quarter of respondents reporting race-based discrimination. International Medical Graduates of non-English speaking background and Indigenous GP trainees were particularly vulnerable.

“This is very disappointing, given the recent Harmony Day observance on the importance of inclusiveness for all Australians. Everybody has the right to feel safe, comfortable, and respected in their workplace. Nobody should be treated inequitably because of their background or personal characteristics, and such discrimination should not be tolerated,” said GPRA President Dr Antony Bolton.

The Benchmarking Report revealed that patients and patients’ families were the most common source of discrimination across all characteristics.

“Unfortunately, discrimination is a recognised problem faced across the medical profession, including general practitioners, and the Colleges have policies and resources to assist doctors in dealing with this. However, GP trainees are particularly vulnerable in the workplace as they often feel powerless to address discrimination and fearful that their training might be impacted if it is reported,” said Dr Bolton.

“Nobody should have to endure discrimination. But when it happens, we need GP trainees to feel safe in reporting workplace discrimination and be supported in dealing with this issue.”

“Given the prevalence of discrimination, GPRA asks that supervisors and training practices review existing practice policies and consider their procedures and support mechanisms for trainees, particularly in relation to discrimination from patients and patient families, and that Regional Training Organisations support their training practices in this matter.”

“Given the vulnerability and many challenges faced when training in community settings, it is vital that all GP trainees are well supported throughout their training program.”

“GPRA, as the only independent organisation representing GP trainees, has occupied a central role in providing this support and will continue to do so into the future. And we would like to see support mechanisms for GP trainees further enhanced as GP training is transitioned to a College-led program, especially for those registrars who will be in training at the point of transition,” said Dr Bolton.


About the report

The data from the GP Trainee Benchmarking Report was collected in a 2019 survey with results tabled in 2020 and published in 2021. The GPRA Benchmarking survey is run every two years. GP trainees confidentially provide information about their employment terms and conditions and training experiences. Read the full report.

GPRA | enquiries@gpra.org.au | 03 9629 8878

Have issues with your employment? Contact GPRA for confidential advice and support.

Become a GPRA member — it's free and takes one minute to join.

The NTCER covers the terms and conditions of GP Registrars' employment.