Chair’s Report September 2022

Nicole Higgins

We are only visible by our absence

When we are doing our job well, we are busy keeping our patients safe, keeping them out of hospital ED departments, and saving the government money.

Just like bees 🐝🐝… we keep the training ecosystem nurtured and self-sustaining. There is nothing like an external pest to threaten the environment, and GPs have pushed back on claims about GPs and mental health. 62% of GP consults have a psychological component and mental health is a huge part of workload and education of registrars. I recently caught up with Dr Louise Stone in Canberra who is a medical educator, researcher, and advocate in mental health to discuss how to continue to support registrars in such a vital aspect of their training.

GPSA has had a busy month, participating in the National Forum on GP Training in Canberra and the National Council of Primary Care Doctors (NCPCD: formerly UGPA), and hosting a lively Q&A session with representatives from both ACRRM and RACGP. We also met with the nation’s minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, along with the Commonwealth Department of Health, the colleges, RTO Network and other sector stakeholders.

"62% of GP consults have a psychological component and mental health is a huge part of workload and education of registrars"

Dr Nicole Higgins

What have we achieved this month?

  • Secured the future of GPSA through funding beyond 2022 and an increased role in supervision of doctors and doctors in training. We thank the Health Department for their collaborative and solutions focussed approach
  • NTCER – We are working closely with GPRA to deliver an updated National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER) that best reflects the needs of the changing sector. While we undertake the stepwise approach GPSA and GPRA has agreed to for the review, we will make a minor amendment to the document in its current form to replace reference to RTOs with reference to the colleges for the initial post-transition training term. All GPSA members have been asked to complete a survey so we can better reflect your views while negotiating with GPRA on the next iteration of the NTCER.  Click this link to complete the survey
  • Payroll Tax – Recognising the alarm this issue is causing across Australia, GPSA made sure this was a key item on the August meeting of the NCPCD through our Payroll Tax brief. Different practices have been given different advice. We have asked that all peak bodies unite to inform both state and federal governments on the impacts of payroll tax and have medical practices excluded.
  • Q&A with RACGP and ACRRM on Transition Click this link to watch 

As February 1, 2023 inches closer, GPSA would like to acknowledge the amazing work done by the RTOs in GP training, and recognise their contribution to this sector. While two RTOs will remain a presence in their respective locations – GPEx, who will be heading up the Workforce Prioritization Placement (WPP) work in SA, and JCU in Queensland – we can all rest assured that the majority of the staff we have been supported by from the remaining seven RTOs will likely be carrying on their work as they shift to their new homes in the colleges.

RACGP Presidential Election
Voting commences Monday 29th  August  – Thursday 8th September
If you would like to know more about the candidates click here RACGP Presidential Nominations 2022
I have put my hand up as a candidate to ensure the continuity of GP training at a time when our profession is in crisis and needs a steady hand to ensure the future of general practice. Whether for me or one of the other candidates, if you are a FRACGP, please vote.

Yours in training,

Dr Nicole Higgins
GPSA Chair