Registrar Liaison Officer update
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a lot of our lives changed – from the way we practice to the way we live and interact with each other and those in our care. It is remarkable to observe the strength of the human spirit as we powered through it to settle into the 'new normal'. It is gratifying to observe the wonderful camaraderie displayed by the training associations, trainees and supervisors in pulling together to support each other and those most affected during these difficult times.
The slump in patient numbers is hopefully starting to rectify itself with the state reopening and COVID cases remaining low. Telehealth has seen a great uptake and appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. Please make sure to educate yourself on the safest way to conduct the interview via telehealth, check with your supervisor and MDO to ensure you are following the correct guidelines and looking after your patients to the best of your ability while protecting yourself medico-legally.
Recently, the 'R U Ok?' campaign was run with great success and serves as a reminder not to forget those who may not be dealing with difficulties or isolation as well as yourself. Be attentive and supportive. Don’t be shy to ask.
GP Synergy has come on board to show their appreciation and to support the registrars with their grants for health and well-being as well as the telecommunication equipment subsidy. It has been well received with many registrars taking up the opportunity. I would encourage everyone to ensure they set time aside to spend with their friends and family and loved ones and remain mentally healthy in these extremely stressful times.
This is especially true for those about to sit their new format exams, proctored KFP and AKT and RCE OSCE types. The fear of the unknown is the greatest. I would recommend everyone visits GPRA, RACGP and GP Synergy websites and keeps up to date with all the information pertaining to the exams. Knowledge of the process will allow you to regain control of the ever-changing situation. Keep updated with information and announcements that are arriving in your inbox.
The latest round of of re-enrolment has recently closed. For registrars about to enrol in their first general practice term I encourage you to go to the General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) website and familiarise yourself with the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER) as well as the other great resources available to assist you with negotiating a contract. Please be mindful that the NTCER is not an official employment award but an agreed minimum employment standard. Speak to your friends, medical educator, RLO or GPRA representative should you have any questions or concerns.
Stay safe, stay healthy and look after one another.
Dr Nicholas Maluga | Registrar Liaison Officer, Central, Eastern and South Western Sydney
Last week there was a transition update meeting with the Regional Training Organisation Network (RTON), the Department of Health and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). The RTOs (including GP Synergy) have regularly met with the Department and the Colleges to discuss the transition since the Minister made his announcement in 2017.
The key messages from the Department were:
- The Minister is committed to seeing transition occur at the end of 2021.
- The Government has confirmed its commitment to ensuring all Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) funds remain in GP training.
- The Government is looking at ways to make general practice more attractive.
- There will be a new approach to supporting workforce in areas of need, involving regional entities.
We have been informed that the role of RTOs will be different, with details to be determined. We have also been advised that the colleges will have full responsibility for all aspects of education from selection to fellowship. Late yesterday afternoon, the RACGP circulated an email to its members regarding this.
We are highly conscious of the potential impact of changes on registrars, supervisors and communities. As a network, and individually as GP Synergy, we will continue to work closely with the Government, the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to ensure the smooth transition of training at the end of 2021.
We are committed to engaging regularly with you throughout this process and when more details are known.
GP Synergy Annual Reports
We're proud to present the GP Synergy Annual Report 2019-2020, and for the first time an annual Research Report 2019-2020.
Our Annual Report demonstrates how in conjunction with supervisors and training facilities we're training highly skilled GPs contributing to healthier communities.
Through our Research Report you can explore the achievements of our Research and Evaluation Unit, who work directly with GP medical educators, supervisors, registrars and other researchers to gather and analyse data to ensure the highest standard of GP training.
We have been circulating information concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the training program. This includes FAQs and changes to our face-to-face education program.
Do you know a medical student interested in a scholarship?
The GP Synergy Medical Student Scholarship is a great opportunity for medical students from participating NSW and ACT universities to explore general practice and general practice research.
Applications for the 2021 scholarship program open Tuesday 6 October to Monday 9 November 2020.
ReCEnT reflections – insights into problems seen by registrars
Part three of our ReCEnT reflections during the COVID-19 pandemic explores the types of problems registrars saw in the 2020.1 compared with what registrars have seen in previous terms.
Understanding these changes in the types of problems seen enables registrars and their supervisors to direct their learning and teaching towards the general practice curriculum they may have missed during the term. Registrars and supervisors are encouraged to review the 2020.1 ReCEnT report together to discuss how these learning gaps may be met in the 2020.2 term.
Every Doctor, Every Setting: A National Framework
You are invited to attend a webinar on Friday 16 October from noon, to launch the Every Doctor, Every Setting: A National Framework to guide coordinated action on the mental health of doctors and medical students, developed with the support of medical leaders in Australia.
This launch is the culmination of collaborative work and consultation with the collective goal of preventing mental ill-health and suicidal behavior and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing for all doctors and medical students.
Hot Topics - Live Webinars
Medcast will be running a Hot Topics course via webinar on 7 and 14 November 2020. The discount code for GP Synergy registrars is HOTSYNR.
National NAIDOC Week 2020
The postponed National NAIDOC Week 2020 celebrations and are being held from 8-15 November. The theme of this year’s celebration is 'Always Was Always Will Be'.
2020 Rural video competition
Help inspire the next generation of rural GPs, and vie for one of the great prizes in our rural video competition - get your entry in by 25 October!
Meet a GP Synergy alumnus
When Dr Maelle Morgan moved to Moree for her GP training, she only expected to stay for two years. Five years later, she is a fellowed GP and GP supervisor who can’t imagine living anywhere else.
GP registrars’ experience during training with patients with mental health problems
Evidence from the GP Synergy NSW & ACT Research and Evaluation Unit – each month we present findings from our work that may be of interest to registrars and their supervisors.
Mental health problems are common in general practice, community levels of mental health morbidity are high, and college mental health curricula are broad. So registrars’ experience of managing patients’ mental health problems within the supported learning environment of vocational training is of great importance.
Using ReCEnT data from 2010-2017, reflecting practice of Term 1, Term 2 and Term 3 registrars in NSW, ACT, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland, we aimed to establish the prevalence, characteristics, and associations of GP trainees’ management of mental health problems.
Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted with the outcome being whether a problem/diagnosis seen by a registrar was a mental health condition.
During the 15 six-monthly rounds of data collection from 2010.1 to 2017.1, 1659 registrars provided data on a total of 218,325 consultations. Of the 340,453 problems/diagnoses recorded by registrars during this period, 8.3% were mental health conditions. This prevalence of mental health problems in registrars’ practice is similar to that of established GPs in other studies.
Patients with a problem/diagnosis of a mental health condition were more likely to be male, to be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, and to be of English-speaking background. Senior registrars, and those who obtained their primary medical qualification in Australia, were more likely to see patients with mental health problems/diagnoses. At the practice level, location in a lower socioeconomic area was associated with increased odds of a problem/diagnosis being a mental health problem/diagnosis.
Consultations for mental health problems were longer than average and involved fewer other problems/diagnoses being addressed in the consultation. When seeing patients for mental health disorders, registrars were less likely to access information, assistance or advice than they did for other problems.
The cultural and socioeconomic associations of registrars’ in-practice experience with mental health that we have established emphasise the complexity of mental health management and will inform education and training approaches.
Stone L, Tapley A, Presser J, Holliday E, Ball J, van Driel M, Davey A, Spike N, FitzGerald K, Mulquiney K, Morgan S, Magin P. Early career GPs, mental health training and clinical complexity: a cross-sectional analysis. 2019. Education for Primary Care. 30(2): 62-69. DOI 10.1080/14739879.2018.1551070
If you would like to discuss this analysis or the paper, contact Parker Magin.
2020.2 key training dates
Stay on top of the key training dates for 2020.2, including the 2021.1 term placement dates.
RACGP fellowship assessments
Key information for exam enrolment and exam dates can be found on the RACGP website.
ACRRM fellowship assessments
Key information for assessment support program dates can be found on the ACRRM website.