Chair’s Report May 2021

 

The Devil is Always in the Detail…

GPSA welcomes the return of training to the colleges. Supervisors are the experts in knowing how to mentor and nurture our learners into the profession. GP’s are the experts in knowing what is best for their profession and their patients. What we need now is detail, certainty and a time frame from the colleges and the department, to inspire confidence in the future of the profession.

The Australian GP Training Program made an important first step towards articulating itself to stakeholders last week, but the lack of detail has many stakeholders feeling nervous.

Why? Because the Devil is always in the detail.

Last month GPSA published the findings of its member survey in which 83% of respondents identified that they did not feel adequately consulted which is extraordinary given the dramatic changes afoot in the AGPT program.

Supervisors ensure our patients and registrars are safe. Governments, ministers, departmental staff, Regional Training Organisations and registrars all come and go, but Supervisors are always there. We are the constant in GP training.

Supervisors and training practices are the foundation of general practice training. Supervisors, training practices and supervision related issues feature explicitly in the RACGP model and there is an absolute commitment to the apprenticeship model. We acknowledge the RACGP for recognising the importance of the relationship between supervisor and registrar.

GPSA met with RACGP following the release of its much anticipated training model. What is reassuring is that the College are indeed listening. Supervisors and training practices now want to see the detail and to understand what a regionalised delivery model will mean to them. There is a great deal of uncertainty within the sector as many training practices remember how difficult the transition was in 2015.

GPSA’s feedback and discussions have really focussed on what we can see so far, which is not a lot.

Progressive assessment

The act of supervision is unfunded. We have fed back that progressive assessment throughout a registrars journey is likely to work well, but the college will need to think about who is expected to complete the assessment and what level of time impost it will require. If this is another thing supervisors are expected to do unfunded, then they need to be aware supervisor time and resource is finite not infinite.

Who will hold and distribute the supervisor funds?

The question over who will hold the funds for supervisors and how the said funds will be distributed remains up in the air. It is a BIG deal.  This very question is something GPSA has been grappling with for months in its review of payments across programs.

The challenge is really that the GP training system from a supervision perspective is woefully underfunded, and as we see across programs, no one agency has come up with a reasonable rationale for how and why supervisors are funded (or not).  Our industry bodies do not appreciate, nor understand the complexities of supervision across the whole of what we do.

Why is this significant?

When supervisors are doing a good job – nobody sees what we do. We are the safety net of the training system. We keep our patients safe. We protect our registrars.

We (not supervisors, but ‘the system’) seem to forget the time it takes to effectively supervise a level one learner.

It is costly to the person providing that service. One that requires a supervisor to:

Supervisors are an invisible service to Government and to patients, and seemingly even our industry colleagues, at times when they design programs without funded supervision.  Supervisors underpin the safety of the primary care system.

Supervision is seamless and safe for the patient and the learner. So seamless the patient often isn’t aware they are being treated by a learner. The learner will never forget those moments a supervisor saved them and their patient from a really unfortunate outcome.

Open market accreditation

It is also apparent that the RACGP intends, seemingly at the behest of the department, to follow an open market practice and supervisor accreditation scheme. Allowing anyone who wants to be accredited to be accredited. While we understand the fair competition argument, we have fed back that having too many training practices where they are not needed just makes GP training unsustainable for everyone. Constantly accrediting practices who may not get a registrar is not a cheap endeavour and in fact, having an uncertain supply of registrars is also problematic for practices who build up their patient lists to accommodate an extra practitioner only to have no registrar in the subsequent term and finding themselves oversubscribed. The constant flux in patients is unsustainable.

Given the cost of accrediting, monitoring and maintaining more and more practices, the risk of this strategy leading to practices having to pay for accreditation is high. The question is how many barriers and costs to practices and supervisors can be put in place before practices can no longer afford to take on learners? And… is it an accreditation system that actually leads to quality outcomes? This all remains to be seen.

The mission now for the RACGP is to build out their model with more detail and to check in with the sector to see that they have it right at local state and national levels. They can only be certain they aren’t simply marketing to themselves if they actively engage with the sector. The signs are promising and we will keep you posted as further detail comes to hand.

So where is ACRRM?

At this stage we have not seen a training model nor the detail that sits behind it from ACRRM. We encourage them to be open about their intentions and to be checking with the sector to ensure they too haven’t convinced themselves their model is a good idea without bringing training practices and supervisors on the journey with them. The 83% of supervisors who stated they had not been adequately consulted was not college specific. Meaning both colleges need to do better in communicating their models.

How will the colleges work together?

GPSA have also asked the colleges to articulate how practices will be accredited. RTOs have commonly streamlined the accreditation process by accrediting practices and supervisors for both colleges at the same time. RTOs have reduced the burden in this way on practices. With the replacement of RTO’s at the coal face, and despite the colleges indicating they have a great relationship, we have not seen whether that extends to being great and mindful of training practices and supervisors, who are often the same regardless of the college a registrar has chosen.

We are 18 months away from a new model of training and the sector are none the wiser in understanding how and why they will be impacted by each college’s version of professional led training on the ground. We encourage both colleges to get their skates on.

COVID Vaccination roll-out

As a supervisor and practice owner who has been engaged in the respiratory clinic initiative and now the COVID vaccination initiative, I appreciate how challenging this time has been for all of our members. GPSA has fed into the Primary Health Care COVID weekly. We will continue to do this and if you have anything you would like us to share with the department, we would be happy to do so on behalf of GP supervisors at the coal face.

National Council of Primary Care Doctors (formally UGPA)
The band is back together with a new name to better represent who we are and what we do! GPSA welcomes the collaboration between GPSA, RACGP, ACRRM, AMA, GPRA, RDAA and AIDA. We are meeting regularly to discuss key areas relating to general practice such as training, accreditation, reducing red tape, wound care and telehealth.

Yours in training,

Dr Nicole Higgins
Chair GPSA

 

Chair’s Report June 2020

2020 will be reflected upon through many lenses for years to come. Through a positive lense COVID 19 has grounded supervisors, registrars and patients with pragmatic solutions to complex problems. It has brought into focus what really matters… and it’s been pretty good for the darker humour meme train too.

We have seen a rapid succession of good health policy from State and Federal  Government. From respiratory clinics, expanded mental health availability for patients, telehealth MBS Item numbers and the lifting of telehealth bulk billing restrictions – we hope much of what has been implemented remains. PPE stockpiles being replenished and the national disaster plans including more than just face masks would be a bonus too. It has driven industry led solutions like ACRRM and RDAA offering an assured supply of PPE nationally and hand sanitiser availability secured by the Practice Manager Network. The primary care industry really is capable and nimble.

It has also been an interesting time for registrars and their supervisors. Supervisors have observed “Cream rises during a crisis”. Meaning many supervisors are seeing some registrars emerge as a great asset during the crisis. These registrar’s practices will likely look to retain them at the end of their training.

What is making our registrars a great asset that sets them apart from their peers? Well for one, a great registrar is a great employee. Someone who is reliable and steady – even in a crisis.

Our registrar’s ability to acknowledge the change in environment and orientate themselves to the ‘we’ has been a gift for some practices. These registrars are able to understand and observe the massive impact COVID has had on the business. They understand reduced presentations affects all clinicians and why they personally might struggle to fill their appointments.

They have also been willing to be part of the solution engaging in non-billable work like the development and implementation of pandemic planning.

The very best of our registrars and our colleagues have understood the importance of getting on with the job despite the increased phone calls, increased non billable admin time and decreased patients. They have understood changes to practice hours, reductions in clinician hours and adapted like all GPs to delivery via telehealth for appropriate patients.

Practices and supervisors have supported their registrars, particularly GPT1’s who have not only had to contend with a change from the hospital environment to general practice, but one involving a lot of telehealth. Senior registrars have been stressed with the changes to the FRACGP exam. Please familiarise yourself with these changes to help your registrar.

This month the Australian Government advised that MBS Items would increase by 1.5%. Commensurately, GP registrar base salaries from term 2 in 2020 will attract the new base rates you will see in the eNews.

The desire to see registrars paid a protected base salary and conditions equivalent to other government funded medical specialties remains on the agenda for all industry bodies and this has been reflected in medical media and more recently on the Health Minister’s GP Training Advisory Committee (GPTAC) agenda. While the mechanism of achieving parity is a shared aspiration, the mechanism to achieving it is not. GP Supervisors continue to ask the question, will Government fund hospital salaries and conditions and will the registrars currently earning well above the equivalent hospital base be prepared to take a pay cut?

It appears this may all be taken out of the hands of registrars and government as GPSA understands that the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) are seeking to have GP registrars included in their award. This shift would see the medical union strongly influence GP registrar pay and conditions. While its easy to argue for more when you don’t have to deal with the wafer thin margins as a general practice owner, the discussion continues to raise more questions than answers.

Take care out there.

 

Dr Gerard Connors
Chair GPSA

Chair Report May 2020

GPSA helping you with COVID19 support resources

We are now more than a month into the ‘Black Swan’ event that has changed all of our lives.

We are fortunate that General Practice is an essential service, but providing that service carries risks. The new telehealth item numbers have made it
easier to continue to provide services to our patients. This is safer for them and us, however some patients need to be seen face to face.

While some of you are very familiar with telehealth, many have been on a learning curve, with its gradient dependent on experience. GPSA has developed
a COVID19 resource kit with input from our membership base. Our resources complement the Covid 19 resources that can be found on Department of Health
websites – Federal and State, your College website, APHRA and your medical defence and are particularly focussed on practical ideas for keeping your practices
viable, supporting your registrar, doctors and staff.  GPSA along with the AMA, RDAA, both Colleges and Australian GP Alliance are in constant communication
with Health departments and Health ministers, advocating on our behalf.

GPSA has also been advocating on your behalf with letters to:

 

GPSA has been active in the education space with several webinars since the Covid 19 crisis started.

Recordings of these Webinars can be found on the GPSA website under Educational resources.

For the foreseeable future our registrars will need more support than ever. Not only education and supervision of the new telehealth consultations
(in addition to face to face consultations), but ensuring they are kept informed of how your practice is adapting to the new environment and are able
to contribute to discussions. Registrars typically don’t have an existing relationship with many patients until later in their term and are least experienced
in dealing with uncertainty. Please ensure (where patients are available) that your registrar continues to see at least the minimum number of patients
stipulated by your College. This will require constant monitoring by the Principal Supervisor and Practice Manager and lateral thinking in providing
clinical material for them.

Get them involved with flu vaccine sessions, seeing patients with nurses in the treatment room, etc. Formal teaching can be done online. Remember
social distancing rules if you continue to do these face to face.

Keep in touch with your colleagues. My practice will be having a weekly online Zoom meeting with all Doctors. During the week we will keep in touch
with internal email. We are practising social distancing with work colleagues. RACGP Victoria is providing a weekly webinar with the Vic Health department.
Check with your State/Territory ACRRM/RACGP College faculty to see if something similar is being offered.

My RTO (EVGPT) has closed its offices and all staff will be working from home. All face to face activities such as ECTV’s, Workplace based assessments,
Registrar release and Supervisor PD have been suspended and alternatives are in place or being explored. We are receiving regular updates and I assume
all RTO’s will be doing the same. Check with your RTO if uncertain.

Some practices are already reporting a drop of 50% or more of their income. The next six months will be stormy.  Please continue to share ideas as I have
said above through GPSA to support each other and our registrars.

Gerard Connors
Chair GPSA

Have a say on medical workforce strategy

 
Do you have an interest in helping to shape planning for the future medical workforce?

As part of the consultation process around the Department of Health’s National Medical Workforce Strategy, a webinar is being held on February 17 to help explore and refine the potential solutions to the priority medical workforce issues that have been identified.

The presenters will be the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Prof Brendan Murphy, and the principal medical advisor for the project, Dr Susan Wearne.

The strategy is being developed to:

For further information, download a copy of the National Medical Workforce Strategy Scoping Framework here.

To participate or watch the webinar live, go to https://publish.viostream.com/app/s-nzx1xon

Questions can either be sent to the panel either during the webinar or beforehand to healthworkforcestrategy@health.gov.au

 

Majority of rural GPs are supervisors: study

More than half of respondents based in rural areas to the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) survey Australia’s general practitioners are supervising GP registrars, GPSA researchers have found.

The finding is part of an Australia-first study that looks at factors related to rural general practitioners supervising registrars and provides a valuable insight into the circumstances in which GPs outside major cities are most likely to take up supervision.

Key findings included:

GPSA chair Dr Gerard Connors said the research would contribute to the knowledge base that has been previously lacking around GP supervision and provide a foundation for strategies to increase the number of rural GPs becoming supervisors.

“Potential strategies to enhance rural general practice supervision capacity include increasing the number of Australian-trained doctors in rural general practice, and increasing support for IMGs to train vocationally and to supervise once Fellowed,” Dr Connors said.

“GPs in larger rural practices have been shown to be more likely to be supervisors – 57.8 per cent according to this study – so that raises the possibility that with more support, doctors in smaller settings could be encouraged to take on a GP registrar.

“This information gives us more to work on than we have ever had to identify ways to increase supervision capacity in rural Australia.”

The project, led by Dr Belinda O’Sullivan, was supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and funded by the Australian Government under the Australian General Practice Training Program.

 

Val’s legacy to help close the gap

It was the great hope of Moree elder Val Dahlstrom that a better understanding of Indigenous culture and history could help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, particularly when it came to health.

Aunty Val Dahlstrom. (Image published with the permission of her family.)

While watching people glued to their phones at an airport one day, she came up with the idea of designing a set of playing cards and a solitaire app that could help increase that knowledge.

She had no idea at the time how to go about his but as an Aboriginal liaison officer for GP Synergy, she soon had the organisation on board to develop the product.

The cards feature Indigenous artwork and provide players with insights into events that have shaped the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Australian history belongs to all of us, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike,” Aunty Val said after the app was launched in 2017.

“I like solitaire and I respect our history, and it concerns me that people don’t seem to know all that much about it.

“So put the two of them together and we are planting a seed which will sprout, and flower so that our history is there for others to see, and to own and cherish.”

Sadly, Aunty Val recently passed away but with the approval of her family GPSA has been able to share her story.

GPSA has teamed up with GP Synergy to provide our membership with access to these cards, which are available through our website.

Access the App here.

 

Case Study: “I got sent home and didn’t get paid”

Rebecca* a GPT4 registrar arrives for work as rostered to discover that the GP training practice she works for has over staffed and there is no consulting room for her to use. Rebecca is sent home from what would have otherwise been a 10 hour shift seeing patients, from which she would likely have increased her billings from the days activity. She receives her payslip to find that her pay is way down on what she expected based on her previous pays. Rebecca presents to Libby* the payroll clerk to advise that she hasn’t been paid for the day that she was sent home. The payroll clerk checks her pay and it appears all is in order as far as the contract is concerned, but to double check Libby contacts GPSA for advice. On contacting GPSA, GPSA ask to receive a deidentified copy of the employment contract and relevant payslip.

On observation of the payslip GPSA observe the following:

It is important to note with this scenario that the impact of being sent home is likely to have been significant for the registrar. This fact is not the question a payroll clerk, nor GPSA will be attempting to respond to. Rather the decision tree GPSA will step a practice through is:

Further points to consider: A question of “fairness” and feelings

It is important to recognise that the registrar will likely feel they have been dealt with unjustly. Afterall, their pay has been afected through no fault of their own and they have budgeted their life around what they expect to earn. Yes they have been paid correctly in the contractual sense of the word. But this is not likely to make them feel any better about having lost earning potential. GPSA really cannot help practices navigate these feelings and psychological contracts other than to acknowledge that they do significantly impact upon your practice and the culture you establish in your practice. The registrar in this scenario may be forced to accept that contractually their pay is correct, but the psychological contract that “they be treated fairly” is very likely to be broken and as such they are unlikely to want to stay with your practice.

Remember psychological contracts are subjective. They are the unwritten contracts we make in our minds… that i will be treated “fairly” is a good example of a psychological contract. It’s not likely to ever appear written into a contract simply because it isn’t really specific or measurable enough to be enforced. “Fair” is subjective in so far as it reflects what the person who holds the belief perceives to be “fair”. Just signing a contract doesn’t really mean that the parties agree that the contract is fair. It simply means they agree to the terms set out in the contract. In this scenario a registrar might perceive that “fair” is that their pay should not be affected by someone else’s mistake. The payroll clerk following the contract and the NTCER might consider that processing payroll in accordance with an employees contract is also “fair”. And a practice owner might perceive that not paying billings that were never received and ensuring that the contractual obligations are met is “fair”. Actually all of these perceptions are understandable.

Your ability as an employer to “make good” and satisfy psychological contracts is the difference between positive or negative organisational culture, which will affect your bottom line regardless. Finding the right fit between you and staff and both parties making allowances for errors is important to the employment relationship. Fixing errors as they occur is also important.

You may never be able to service a registrars expectations or restore their faith, but what you can do is try to always get it right and be mindful of psychological contracts and their impact on organisational culture.

It is important to note also that a registrar who leaves your employ feeling they they have been dealt with unfairly will retain employment scars for future practices to deal with. Consider that the next time you are interviewing a registrar for employment and they are asking a lot of pointed questions or requiring very specific language be used in their contract. Chances are they have had an experience. It is useful to ask them about that experience and for both you and the registrar to acknowledge that the employment “baggage” exists and have a discussion about how you might navigate it in this new contract.

* Names and scenario details changed to protect equiry subjects.

Young gun of GP supervision gets a gong

The call to GP supervision found Dr Nicholas Hamilton early in his career.

In 2015, two years post fellowship, the young doctor registered as a supervisor “through circumstance” to help facilitate supervisor capacity at the newly opened East Canberra General Practice.

Dr Nicholas Hamilton

“My supervisor during my final training term was practice principal and was setting up another practice from scratch,” Dr Hamilton said.

“It was a good opportunity for me to work in a new building with all new equipment. I became a supervisor out of necessity so the practice could be a training practice.”

In December 2019, GP Synergy presented the supervisor of five years, now aged 38, the Murrumbidgee and ACT Supervisor of the Year Award.

Dr Hamilton has supervised 13 registrars, including some who have returned to the practice post fellowship.

In nominating Dr Hamilton for the award, a grateful registrar said: “This time was invaluable to my learning and ensured that I felt well supported and a valued member of the practice.

“Nick included me in practice discussions and decisions, and I grew to feel part of a community that shared my desire to support our patients while also prioritising our own interests and self-care.”

Dr Hamilton in turn values the support of his former supervisor Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo, a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for service as a medical practitioner to the community of the Australian Capital Territory.

He is grateful Dr Soo offered the opportunity to work and supervise at her new Canberra practice, and become practice principle and a co-owner so early in his GP career.

“I became a supervisor so early because Dr Soo was very experienced and inspiring,” he said.

Dr Hamilton admits being a young supervisor comes with advantages and challenges.

With a fresh recollection of life as a registrar Dr Hamilton – who is also an examiner – says it is an advantage as a young supervisor to “still be in touch with the examination process”.

“I know what it is like to be in the registrars’ shoes,” he said.

Equally, Dr Hamilton said teaching the reality of uncertainty in general practice was more challenging for a young supervisor than their senior peers.

“I feel more confident now as a supervisor in not always knowing the answers, and teaching that uncertainty is not always a bad thing; it is a part of general practice for doctors of all ages and experience.”

Dr Hamilton favours a pastoral care approach to supervision over didactic teaching sessions, largely because registrars (particularly those with speciality training) already have extensive medical knowledge and access to learning resources.

“General practice is a demanding job and you can feel quite alone; so, a lot of my teaching sessions are pastoral care conversations to help registrars strategise and work out their consultation style.

“One of the hardest things to teach a GP registrar is the need to take charge of patient care into the future; trying to help them make the switch from being reactive to proactive and giving the patient the sense that the doctor is there for them in the long term.”

 

Has your practice caught up with changes to personal/carer’s leave?

The Full Federal Court  handed down on 21 August 2019 a decision that has landed a sizable shift in how employers treat full and part-time employees in relation to personal/carer’s leave.

Previously, the National Employment Standards provided for 10 days personal leave for full-time employees for each year of service and pro rata for employees working smaller fractions for each year of service.

The Mondelez Decision

On 21 August 2019, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision dealing with how paid sick and carer’s leave accumulates and is taken under the National Employment Standards (NES).

The decision said:

Appeal

The Australian Government and the company involved in the case, Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd, applied to the High Court of Australia to appeal this decision. The High Court granted these applications on 13 December 2019. This means an appeal of the Mondelez decision will be heard by the High Court. In the meantime, the decision made on 21 August 2019 is the current state of the law and applies to affected employers and employees.

This provision forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES apply to all employees regardless of any award, agreement or contract of employment.

What does this mean to GP training practices?

While the decision made by the Federal Court may be overturned in the High Court, practices will have to make the call as to whether to grant the additional paid personal and carer’s leave. Obviously if you choose not to and this is challenged legally it may cost your business more in the long run in legal fees and reparations.

However, should you choose to pay per the current NES and the decision is overturned, you may have never incurred the additional expense.

Obviously this decision tree places organisations in relative limbo. Should you find yourself contemplating a staff member who has accessed more than their pro rata amount of personal/carers leave, the Federal Court ruling remains current law. GPSA’s advice therefore has to be that up to 10 days should be paid. The NTCER allows for five days to be paid in advance for each six month period.

Should contracts be changed?

This is a business decision. GPSA has not made this change to our employment agreement template yet, and any change likely to occur would be along the lines:

“personal/carer’s leave will be paid consistent with the National Employment Standards”.

This is because regardless of what is presently written into contracts, the NES effectively works as a safety net and would likely prevail if tested legally. However, if all part-time contracts were changed and then the High Court reversed the Federal Court decision – and you had changed your registrar’s contract to 10 days personal leave – the contract at the higher rate may prevail if legally tested. In effect, because what you agreed with your registar was higher than the minimum as outlined in the NES.

GPSA will  keep a close eye on the appeal and keep you up-to-date on any changes as they arise.

Where can I find more information?

FairWork  – Personal/Carer’s/Compassion and Domestic Violence Leave 
FairWork Fact Sheet
Paid Sick, Carer’s Leave FAQs

Novel corona virus distracts from bushfire devastation

 

The novel corona virus now occupying our thoughts internationally has shifted much focus away from those who still need us.

While we should expect that with a 24/7 news cycle that one singular issue is not likely to remain topical, GPSA has been considering how best to continue to assist our bushfire-affected communities since the media attention and flood of public donations have dwindled.

GPSA contacted the Mallacoota Medical Centre, whose community and surrounds were devastated by the January 2020 bushfires. The key message received loud and clear is that all communities affected by the fires nationally continue to struggle with staffing, supplies and not only the community’s general PTSD associated with the fires but the PTSD clinicians have likely sustained themselves that they have had to work through for their patients’ sakes.

Mallacoota Medical Centre is one of many centres in bushfire-affected areas that will need ongoing support and attention. For these communities, they are no longer novel like the corona virus, but their existing realities are just as dire and will be for a very long time. Please continue to give your time and donations generously.

RTO and College support for remote supervision in affected communities

GPSA wrote to the RACGP (you can read the letter here) and the CEOs of your training providers (read the letter here) in January specifically seeking a college and local training provider solution to enable remote supervision of registrars interested in providing locum support or indeed supervisors with registrars being able to provide remote supervision while they engaged in locum relief to bushfire-affected areas.

While nothing will ever beat the gold standard of onsite GP supervision for GP registrars, GP supervisors are typically pragmatic and very generous.

Previous disasters around Australia have highlighted the challenges that exist when communities affected by disaster have their registrars removed at a time when they are needed most and the challenge of retaining assistance after the immediate attention and concern wears off. So, we have sought a pragmatic solution for those who wish to engage and support affected communities.

Transition of AGPT policy and eligibility to Colleges in early 2020

The Department of Health and the Colleges have advised (you can read the formal notification here) that the AGPT policy and eligibility functions previously administered and managed by the Department of Health will be formally handed over to the colleges in early 2020. They have advised that AGPT policy will remain stable until the end of 2021 to ensure continuity for the sector.

Rural Generalist Coordination Units

The Department of Health has sent out non-competitive grant opportunities to state health departments to apply for funds to establish coordination units in anticipation of the rural generalist pathway commencing in 2021. The grant opportunities closed on 17 January 2020.

GPSA has written to the department about this to express our concern that previous communication from GPSA to the Hon. Minister Greg Hunt and Department of Health personnel (read the letter here) about the risks associated with the single employer model do not appear to have been resolved prior to a single employer being appointed.

Department personnel have responded stating that the coordination units are separate to considerations around the single employer mechanisms or alternate proposals.

Dave McNally, Director GP Training Systems, advised that the risks, challenges and conflicts identified by GPSA have absolutely been received and the department is working conscientiously through the issues associated.

GP Supervisor Review

As advised in the eNews before Christmas, GP Supervisors Australia has commenced a consultancy with the Department to review GP supervision of a range of programs. We have had some great input from the GP supervisor community about the degree to which supervision is in/adequately funded.

This project is a unique opportunity for GP supervisors to feed into identifying just what is required into the future. Please do take the opportunity to contribute by registering your expression of interest to be interviewed here.

New training terms

As I write this all regions have either already commenced a new training term or they are about to. This is a busy time for practices and supervisors. There is induction and orientation of new registrars, contracts and getting your registrar settled into the practice. Getting to know where your registrar sits on the competency register can take time. Some over, while others under, estimate their competence (over/under confident) and some have an appropriate self-awareness. Like a patient consult – time will tell. It is not easy what we do, but it is absolutely vital to our patients and our communities.

College support for GP supervisors

GPSA has written to both the RACGP and ACRRM seeking their assurances that once they take over GP training funding that they will continue to support funded supervision into the future. We will continue to engage with the colleges constructively throughout 2020 to ensure the GP training community remains secure that the GP supervisor community’s remit is to deliver internationally recognised gold standard GP training and we can only do that through support from the colleges when funding for GP training transitions to them in 2022.

GPSA resources there to support you

Importantly, GPSA has a range of resources to support you throughout 2020. We encourage you to have a look at the orientation checklist, teaching plans, guides and other resources that are all free and open access to assist you.

Have you taken a break recently?

Finally, to those of our community who worked through Christmas and New Year and much of January to ensure their communities had access to primary care and their staff and colleagues could take a well-earned break – thank you!

Please be sure to consider taking a break yourself also – sustainable practice includes looking after your team, which includes yourself.  See our new teaching plan Doctors’ health and self care for some great advice for GPs and their registrars.

Yours in GP training,

Dr Gerard Connors
Chair GPSA