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Chair’s Report – August 2018

We see this week what disunity and discord represents to the people of Australia – self-interest, futility and almost certain demise. Yet within the context of organisations, atmospherics can emerge and prevail from a raft of actions, feelings, internal and external factors.

It is clear in recent times that the world views of registrars and supervisors can be different. Is this a bad thing or is it to be expected? Are they really that different? We will all have a different perspective on these questions and that is part of the rich tapestry of general practice. In some ways it reflects the general practice team nationally. But do we work as a team?

Nothing could be more certain than if we do not collaborate and participate in the discussions about the future of general practice training as a team, then decisions about all of our futures will be made without us. Our internal and external orientation in general practice needs to be unity in order to survive.

From this perspective, discussions around the NTCER and pay for registrars should not occur without understanding that everyone in general practice is under pressure and financial strain. The challenge for us all is to grow the pie, not argue over our share of the crumbs.

Supervisors should be the very best friends of registrars, the colleges, the Department of Health and relevant Ministers. So, at a time of many uncertainties, it’s disconcerting to see some focus on immediate financial return without acknowledgment of the balance needed to support ongoing  quality training.

So where is GPSA influencing the evolution of general practice? GPSA has provided feedback to the Rural Health Commissioner around the rural generalist pathway being developed, we have provided feedback to the Department of Health around the risk associated with supervision in after hours environments. We have pointed out to Ministers and government that a number of the key workforce initiatives specifically funded in the 2018 federal budget all hinge upon supervision. We need to enable the changes and additional activity and recognise the challenges associated with each for our GP supervisors.

July saw the indexation of MBS item 23 at 1.5% and this automatically triggers an increase in the NTCER base rates.  Since the last increase was 5 years ago, it is perhaps reasonable that we are all unused to this mechanism within the NTCER and so GPSA have focussed on advising and supporting practices to implement the new base rate. Publication of our newest guide on teaching professionalism was also published in July. It’s part of a suite of guides scheduled for the second half of 2018 including this month the supervisor guide on Supervising in after-hours environments and in September a guide on performance management within general practice.

Sincerely,

Steve Holmes