The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is progressing its new model for GP training in Tasmania to boost the number of GPs in rural and remote communities.
In April the RACGP released its blueprint for general practice training – Profession-led, Community-based Training – which aims to attract more graduates to become a GP and do their training in the communities that need them most.
There are well-documented challenges with attracting medical students to specialise as a GP, and to live and work in rural and regional communities – there are more than 50 GP vacancies advertised on the Rural Health Tasmanian Workforce website, and even more locum positions. While there are many factors behind this, research shows GPs who get a taste of rural life by training there are more likely to choose to stay living there and enjoy all the benefits of a career in rural practice.
This week, RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements and Tasmania Chair Dr Tim Jackson are meeting with key health stakeholders in Tasmania, including local GPs and GP workforce training organisations to examine the problems and what can be done to solve the GP workforce crisis.
RACGP Tasmania Chair Dr Tim Jackson said the rural GP shortage was at crisis point in Tasmania.
“The GP shortage in rural Tasmania is dire, and it’s impacting on the health of patients and communities,” he said.
“Everyone deserves access to high quality general practice care, regardless of their postcode. Without this, patients end up in hospital with much worse chronic conditions and health issues that could have been managed in general practice. The need is only more acute in Tasmania where we have an aging population.”
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said the transition of GP training back to the specialist medical colleges, including RACGP, was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“The RACGP represents the most rural and regional GPs of any group in Australia and increasing the number of highly trained GPs across the country is our priority,” he said.
“The transition of the Australian General Practice Training program, announced in 2017, back to the specialist colleges is an opportunity to reform our GP training system and make significant improvements to the distribution of GPs for the long-term benefit of communities Australia-wide, as well as improving the quality of training.
“There are misconceptions about general practice and rural practice as a career, and the benefits of this speciality, it is an exciting and varied career – we will be doing a lot more to promote this to medical students.”
The transition of the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program back to the general practice colleges, including RACGP, was announced by the Federal Minister for Health in 2017.
The next applications open for the final take of the RACGP’s 2022 AGPT program on 30 August 2021. More information is available on the RACGP website here.