IGPRN Celebrates 10 Years

Congratulations to IGPRN

A decade of growth: IGPRN celebrates 10 years of supporting Indigenous GP registrars

Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network (IGPRN) celebrate their 10 year anniversary in 2018.

The network was formed by a group Indigenous GP registrars who saw that the challenges and opportunities they faced would be experienced better with support from their peers. Today, it continues on in its mission to be a network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP registrars to provide professional and cultural support to one another.

IGPRN marked their anniversary with a special celebration at their April workshop.

The workshop was attended by 17 indigenous GP registrars, future and present leaders in indigenous health and other stakeholder representatives.

The three-day workshop was a unique opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP registrars to connect with their peers, discuss the unique challenges of working as an Indigenous GP registrar and focus on their studies with sessions on exam preparation and medical education.

The registrars focused on preparation for their written Fellowship exams, with the first day dedicated to integrating clinical reasoning and random case analysis into exam preparation and applying those skills in real life.

Registrars learned skills to adapt cases from their own practice into interactive learning tools with their Supervisor using case analysis.

The registrars also sat a mock-OSCE exam providing valuable constructive feedback on their approach to the exam.

The 10 year celebration was marked by a dinner in honour of the network, with speeches from GPRA President Dr Melanie Smith, and President of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association Dr Kali Hayward, along with Chair of IGPRN Dr Simone Raye.

IGPRN would like to sincerely thank the people and organisations that made this workshop a success, including the South Australian RTO GPEx, the local Aboriginal medical service Nunkuwarrin Yunti, our Indigenous GP Fellows and kind volunteers, and many others.

Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Health, wrote a special message for the network, which was read out at the celebration dinner marking the occasion.

Firstly, I want to thank and congratulate every one of you for choosing to take the long and hard road to becoming a GP.

It’s not easy for anyone, but there can be additional obstacles for some First Nations Australians – including cultural challenges and the difficulties of juggling study commitments with family obligations.

You should all be very proud of your achievements so far.

You’re nearly there, so maintain your determination and get through the rest of your training - not just for yourself, but to help close the gap in health equality for our people.

Wherever you choose to practise, you will make a difference, by providing accessible and trusted care, through your fundamental understanding of, and respect for, culture and country.

Your status as a GP will change attitudes and engender respect —from other health workers, from patients, and from the wider community. And you’ll inspire other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to aim high and work for their goals, whatever their dreams.

As you know, it’s 10 years since the Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network was set up.
It’s made a big difference to registrars since then and still does, which is why the Turnbull Government is so proud to support it.

The numbers tell the story. Between 1995 and 2016, 53 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors qualified as GPs. That’s a period of 21 years - but more than two-thirds of these doctors qualified during the 10 years after the Indigenous General Practice Registrar’s Network was formed.

That’s partly due to the 100 percent increase in the number of First Australians studying medicine, but it’s also due to much higher success rates.

The numbers are still building. In 2016 there were 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors undertaking Australian General Practice Training—enough to double our current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP workforce in a few years.

And last year it rose again, to 56.

Some people will find it difficult, but the chances of success are constantly rising, thanks to the work of the Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network, the GP colleges and the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association.

Relationships are building, understanding is growing, and outcomes are improving

You’re part of this powerful trend and you will be part of a much better tomorrow for our people.

Well done, as you grasp this opportunity with both hands, and don’t let go. I hope you have a wonderful day and I wish everyone here a fruitful and fulfilling career, as you help change the future of First Nations healthcare.

Thank you.

Ken Wyatt AM
Minister for Indigenous Health.

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