It is hard to believe we are already a month into the new era of GP training! For all the teething problems there might have been, all in all it has been a remarkably smooth process thanks to a whole lot of hard work behind the scenes. Well done to both Colleges (but know that we will continue to badger you until all of the SLO and PMLO roles have been filled)!
Just in time for the first semester of GP training under ACRRM and RACGP, we jointly announced the completion of the 2022 NTCER Review with GPRA, producing what I consider a fair outcome not only for registrars but also for supervisors and practice owners. Broad consultation throughout this lengthy review involved every GPSA member having multiple opportunities to contribute their views and raise their concerns around the minimum terms and conditions for employing registrars. While we always hope for higher levels of participation by the members we are representing in matters like this, there were some terrific insights provided by those supervisors, practice owners and practice managers who participated in our survey, open submission, and working groups. Many thanks to all involved.
Close on the heels of our NTCER announcement, in early February the Tasmanian government announced its plan to introduce a Single Employer Model (SEM) for 20 registrars across the state, with an emphasis on rural and regional GP training. This announcement was shortly followed by news that multiple additional SEM pilots are being planned for NSW. We can now reveal that a total of ten SEM pilots are scoped for rollout across the country by the individual states / territories, these being on top of the original SEM pilots ongoing in Murrumbidgee and Riverland. Recognising the possible negative impact on our combined memberships by a wide range of unintentional consequences of these SEM pilots, together with GPRA we are reaching out to the states and territories to do what we can to ensure the needs of supervisors, training practices and registrars are met in these pilots. As the peak organisations for GP training, we are keen to lend our support: to guide successful outcomes that focus not only on increased community access to doctors-in-training, but on high quality registrar placements that foster a passion for the general practice specialty and an attachment to the community in which the training is undertaken. We will be updating you on our work and inviting your contribution in this space throughout the year.
Another significant demonstration of high-level focus on improving primary healthcare that’s at risk of undermining the value of high-quality GP supervision is the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report… Despite some very important recommendations, did anyone else notice that there was not a single reference to registrar, supervisor or training practice?! But seriously, this report once again brings into focus the topic that started our year with a bang in Queensland and beyond: the new and far-from-improved payroll tax ruling. Despite the 2-year amnesty / stay-of-execution announced on 3rd February (at least in Queensland), the application of the newest SRO ruling is still likely to make a large number of quality training practices reconsider the viability of continuing to take on registrars; additionally, recommendations from the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce such as Voluntary Patient Registration – and any other payments to practices to help coordinate care – would be considered subject to payroll tax, deleting the potential fiscal benefits. GPSA will continue to demand fairness and logic on this matter, for our members and for the future of general practice.
Lastly, I wish to address the news that’s caused more than a ripple among RACGP members since the publication of this article in newsGP. The College’s transparency on their financial situation may have sparked some controversy; but, for our purposes as the nation’s peak organisation for GP supervisors and training practices, this is the message I want to highlight – quoting the RACGP Board Chair, Dr Lara Roeske:
GP training will not be impacted by the cost reduction program in any way. This work is funded by the Commonwealth, and it is a requirement that we do not comingle funds.
In other words, the RACGP’s funding for delivering the AGPT program is completely quarantined, ensuring the College’s ability to support supervisors and training practices will not be impacted by the cost reductions planned across the other areas of the organisation.
So rest assured that GP training is not going to suffer from RACGP’s dip into the red… and maybe spare a thought for GPSA’s tiny team, continuing to support supervisors, practice owners and practice managers on the smell of an oily rag!
Date reviewed: 01 March 2023
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