ReCEnT research highlights importance of supervisors in GP training - GP Synergy

ReCEnT research highlights importance of supervisors in GP training

A study of nearly 85,000 consultations undertaken by 645 GP registrars has revealed the frequency of requests for assistance by their GP supervisor reduces significantly as they progress through training, with reliance on supervisors, rather than other sources of information, being greatest when registrars encounter complex and challenging problems.

The results stem from the long-standing Registrar Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) research project – a Department of Health funded initiative which commenced in 2009 as a collaborative venture led by former regional training provider General Practice Training – Valley to Coast, and is now administered by GP Synergy.

The study found that registrars in their first six month GP community based term asked for help in 11% of consultations, reducing by term to 1.2% of consultations by their fourth GP term, which GP Synergy Chief Executive Officer, Mr John Oldfield, says has practical implications for training practices and the support they require.

“The apprenticeship model underpins GP training and ad hoc advice and guidance from the supervisor is a vital component, but hasn’t previously been quantified and characterised.

“Having access to evidence based information from research such as ReCEnT, is critical to ensuring registrars, supervisors and training practices are supported in targeted ways that enhance the registrar’s journey to becoming a competent and confident independent general practitioner,” says Mr Oldfield.

Supervisors were most often asked about management (53%) rather than diagnosis (12%), with a further 35% of all requests for both diagnosis and management.

The most common clinical areas that registrars requested assistance for was skin (20% of all problems/diagnoses) and musculo-skeletal (12%).

The study also showed that compared to non-human resources (such as electronic resources) registrars requested help from their supervisors for more complex and challenging problems, which GP Synergy ReCEnT Chief Investigator, Professor Parker Magin, says reinforces the critical role of the supervisors in GP training.

“These findings demonstrate that non-human electronic sources of information can’t replace the considered advice of an experienced supervisor, especially for complex and comorbid medicine which is increasingly prominent in GPs’ workload,” he says.

For further information, please see ‘Responding to registrars’ in-consultation calls for assistance: Practical implications from the ReCEnT project’ published in Australian Family Doctor, Vol. 45, No. 6, June 2016.


For more information please contact:

Kate Froggatt | Marketing & Communications Manager | M: 0419 018 132 | E:

Prof Parker Magin | Chief Investigator | M: 0408 953 872 | E:


About GP Synergy

GP Synergy is an established general practice regional training organisation, funded by the Australian Government to deliver vocational GP training to doctors seeking to specialise as general practitioners.

GP Synergy is the sole provider of the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) programme within NSW and ACT.

The Registrars’ Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) project was developed under the lead of former Regional Training Provider (RTP) General Practice Training – Valley to Coast, commencing initially as a pilot in 2009 and growing into a large collaborative venture with other RTPs across Australia. In early 2016, following a change in GP training regions and training providers, an agreement was reached between GP Synergy and the Department of Health to continue the longstanding research project.

Although the ReCEnT team is based in Newcastle, GP Synergy has regional offices with local medical and administration teams in Armidale, Ballina, Canberra, Chippendale, Dubbo, Liverpool, Moree, Wagga Wagga, and Wollongong.

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