RACGP Queensland Tour Boosts Rural GP Training

Royal Australian College of GPs

Rural training opportunities for GPs will be showcased this week as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners tours the Darling Downs and South Burnett in an effort to encourage more registrars to live and work in key communities.

The RACGP tour will gather local knowledge from GPs and practice teams in Crows Nest, Tara, Chinchilla, Jandowae, Kingaroy, Murgon and Gympie to inform the College's training program and attract more new GPs to areas of need.

As Australia's peak body for GPs across the country, the RACGP trains four-in-five rural GPs. This year it has successfully filled 114 training places in communities that hadn't had a GP registrar for several years.

RACGP Queensland Chair Dr Cathryn Hester, who will take part in the tour, said that while this was great news, more work is needed to make sure every community can access the healthcare it needs.

"The RACGP team is looking forward to meeting local GPs and practice teams to hear about their experiences on the ground in these communities. While the College has a nationally consistent training program, our local approach to get registrars into communities is seeing results. Meeting with local practices is essential for really understanding their needs and what will work best," she said.

"The Darling Downs and South Burnett are beautiful parts of our state, and it's critical that governments invest today in training the future GP workforce to ensure these communities have a strong general practice workforce to meet their needs. Every person, and every community needs a GP."

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins, who practices in Mackay, said government investment in building a strong general practice workforce is essential for every corner of the state.

"Queensland has the most geographically dispersed population in the country. GPs help people live healthier, stay in their communities, and reduce pressure on our hospitals," she said.

"We've had great success getting GPs training in rural Queensland with incentives targeted to community needs. But we know there is more work to be done. The RACGP is responsible for training 90% of Australia's GPs, including four out of 5 rural GPs, we know what's needed to boost GP workforce.

"It takes over 10 years to train a GP, so we need to work now to boost the general practice workforce.

"This is why we're calling on the Federal Government to fund incentives and subsidised training for registrars in the next Federal Budget, to get enough GPs in every community. Being a GP is a rich and rewarding career, but the workforce has been hamstrung by decades of underfunding. This investment will help remove the main barriers to GP training."

In its pre-Budget Submission 2024-25, the RACGP is calling for:

  • Funding for paid parental and study leave for GP registrars and an incentive payment to ensure they're paid the same as registrars working in hospitals.

  • Funding to subsidise the training for 1,100 international and local doctors to become specialist GPs in regional and rural Australia, to get more GPs into communities in need.


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