Australia’s GPs to examine their role in disasters, lessons from COVID-19 at RACGP annual conference

The role of GPs in disasters and lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic will be at the forefront of GP20, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) flagship annual conference for GPs.

The conference is Australia’s premier event for GPs, delivering new and emerging clinical health research and education, and inspiring the future of general practice.

This year’s conference, running from 16 to 28 November, focuses on lessons for general practitioners learned through the COVID-19 pandemic and last summer’s bushfire disaster. The program and registration for GPs is online here: https://www.racgp.org.au/gp20/gp20-home

It comes after the RACGP called on Federal Government to help general practice successfully manage the long-term health impacts of the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time the conference will be a fully digital event, ensuring all GPs across Australia can attend, while remaining in their practice during this critical time for patient care. It will feature live presentations and activities along with on-demand content that support GPs’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD), as well as opportunities for GPs to connect at digital networking events and a digital exhibition. Tickets are $99 for members and $199 for non-members.

This year’s event is also helping raise donations for The Dr Harry Nespolon Grant, honouring the RACGP’s late former President and carrying on his vision for patient-centred care. How the funds will be used will be announced at the conference.

RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said 2020 has highlighted the value of general practice in our community.

“When disasters strike, be they bushfires, floods or indeed a once in a lifetime pandemic, general practice is at the frontline helping our patients and communities. In the aftermath of crisis, we help our communities heal and provide ongoing care throughout the recovery and into the future.

“That is what makes general practice so valuable for our nation’s health. Your GP is with you for life, through the hard times and the good. We’re here for you when you’re sick and we’re here to help you stay well.

“Each year, the RACGP’s conference delivers the latest clinical research and education for GPs, which goes on to positively impact patient care across the nation.

“This year we are examining the role of general practice in disasters and lessons learned from recent health crisis, including general practitioners around the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have worked hard to make this year’s conference more accessible to GPs across the country, as a digital event in recognition of the significant challenges many are facing.

“After what has been an incredible trying year for our profession – and many personally – GP20 is also a welcome opportunity for GPs across Australia to connect, learn from the best and be inspired for the future of general practice.”

GP20 program highlights

· Plenary: Disasters and general practice in the spotlight, looking at lessons from the summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic and way forward after 2020, with speakers: Dr Penny Burns, Chair and Co-chair, RACGP NSW & ACT General Practice Disaster Management Committee, Prof Michael Kidd AM FAHMS, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Professor of Primary Care Reform, and Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AC, GP, Altona Medical Group and facilitator Dr Lara Roeske, Chair, RACGP National Faculty of Specific Interests. The session includes a presentation by Dr Burns followed by an interactive panel discussion.

· Plenary: Racism is the public health crisis we can no longer ignore: The role of the GP. As the Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold globally, this session provides a timely opportunity to look at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, how it impacts health, and how GPs can drive change.

· Long term health risks to look for after the COVID-19 pandemic. This session will look at emerging evidence and recommendations for GPs caring for patients who have had a COVID-19 infection.

· COVID global health Q&A session. After watching the COVID global health on-demand content, with speakers from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and representatives from The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA), come to the live Q&A session to find out more about the global experience of COVID-19 and role of GPs in the pandemic.

· Disasters that unfold around us: GPs on the ground. Rural and remote GPs share their experiences of helping communities struck by disaster.

· eHealth resources for rural mental health. This session will look at the latest online mental health resources GPs can use to help their patients to use in times of community distress and disasters.

· Food allergies in children. With over 170 foods proven to cause allergic reactions, this presentation will look at the latest emerging evidence to promote patient care and treatments.

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