Regional Head of Education update
The start of 2020 has been a challenge personally and professionally for all health professionals. General practice and general practice training have had their own unique challenges and I have been impressed by the resilience and adaptability of my colleagues and trainees to this uncertain environment.
Late 2019 and early 2020 brought significant bush fires to parts of our region and from February this year the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time both our trainees and practices rose to the challenge and made significant changes to the way they practice, and train registrars.
We have seen large scale changes including:
- how we screen our patients prior to appointments
- implementation of telehealth
- new Medicare item numbers
- how we assess patients via phone or video
- introduction of respiratory clinics into general practice
- challenges related to remote supervision of registrars and teaching
- significant reduction of income in some of our practices.
This has been in addition to the effect that COVID-19 has had on our personal lives. Despite this, the majority of our GP training has continued, and this is in no small part due to the ongoing support offered by our supervisors and their training facilities.
As a training organisation we have also adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of areas including:
- early transition to a webinar format for all our face-to-face workshops
- development and approval of a remote telehealth supervision model
- development and approval of a remote clinical teaching visit model for our trainees
- COVID debrief sessions for registrars and supervisors
- regular COVID-19 related FAQs which are available in GPrime
- ongoing support of registrars for COVID-19 related leave and extensions of training.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the timing and delivery of the RACGP 2020 exams, including the OSCE, which has led to increased uncertainty for our registrars. A transitional OSCE will be run in November 2020, followed by a new exam in 2021. We will continue to support our registrars in their preparation for Fellowship.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you about your supervisor and practice support team including:
- Dr Simon Morgan (Medical Educator with a Supervisor Portfolio)
- Dr Ian Charlton (Supervisor Liaison Officer)
- Lucinda Coble (Practice Liaison Support Officer).
They are excellent resources and continue to provide expert educational, advocacy and administration support for supervisors in the region.
Thank you for your commitment to training our registrars, we appreciate it.
Dr Chris Starling | Regional Head of Education Hunter, Manning and Central Coast
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.
CTVs are now being delivered remotely
Thank you for your patience over the last couple of months while we have been working on the move to remote Clinical Teaching Visits (CTVs). With the first remote CTVs having been successfully undertaken we are moving forward with booking in outstanding CTVs for registrars.
Please check your email regularly for notification of an upcoming CTV and respond within a day or two. As we are nearing the end of the term it is important we schedule in as many CTVs as possible and your prompt reply will help us achieve that.
GP Synergy has made the decision that all CTVs will be delivered remotely for the rest of the 2020.1 term across all of NSW and ACT. The resumption of face-to-face CTVs will be reviewed and considered for the 2020.2 term. As it is important that registrars continue with training requirements during this time, we ask and thank you for your cooperation with these visits. If your practice has individual circumstances that might make a remote CTV difficult to arrange, and you have not already contacted us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020.1 has been a term where the innovation and resilience of general practice has become increasingly evident to the medical community and the community at large.
Due to the international pandemic, clinical and educational activities as we knew them, have been rapidly transformed to a safer format. This transformation came with a very steep learning curve for all concerned with GP training – GP supervisors, practice managers, registrars as well as GP Synergy medical education and events teams.
Face-to-face educational sessions were cancelled and the usual educational CPD requirements for supervisors to attend these events has been waived for the current year. Some were replaced with online versions, while others have been postponed to 2020.2
New webinars were developed to address supervision needs during telehealth, disaster management and most recently, Dr Monica Moore presented a webinar on 'Doctors health and wellbeing in the COVID era'. This webinar focused specifically on practical approaches for both psychological self-care and that of registrars currently being supported in practice. Recordings of this and other webinars can be accessed on GPRime using the 'Quick Links and Subscriptions' tab and selecting 'Webinars for Supervisors'.
We have now held two 'Check in and Chat' sessions in each region. These Supervisor Liaison Officer led sessions were evening based meetings developed to provide a forum for supervisors to connect regionally, in a safe space, with the opportunity to discuss the impact that the demands of rapid change had placed on them. Further interactive online meetings are under development.
GP Synergy Medical Educators with Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) reached out to supervisors who identified specific needs, supervisors whose registrars identified specific needs, as well as those supervisors who continued to simply absorb the increasing demands of the new world order with their usual unflappable resilience.
GP supervisors are continuing to do their work both clinically and educationally despite what the world is throwing at them. GP Synergy recognises this with the added supports and modifications in requirements. We continue to work together to meet the needs of patients, registrars and supervisors.
Please contact your local MESP or Practice Liaison Support Officer for individualized support. Their details are available through Need some help?
Useful Links :
Doctors Self Care resources as recommended by Dr Monica Moore
Dr Eszter Fenessy | Deputy Regional Head of Education Central East South West Sydney
Do you know a registrar, supervisor or practice worthy of a college award?
Nominations for college awards are now open, if you know a registrar, supervisor or practice that is making a significant difference consider sharing their achievements by nominating them in one of the award categories.
Rural generalist training
With the 2021 NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program applications opening soon, meet three of our rural generalist registrars.
General Practice registrars’ experience of antenatal care
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.
GPs play a vital part in diagnosis and ongoing management of pregnancies in Australia. Some GP registrars entering GP training may have had no post‐graduate experience in obstetrics and gynaecology. Working with an academic GP registrar from General Practice Training Queensland/The University of Queensland, we aimed to use ReCEnT data to determine the prevalence and associations of Australian GP registrars’ clinical consultations involving antenatal care.1
We found that antenatal care comprised 1.1% of registrar problems/diagnoses. Registrars seeing pregnancy‐related presentations were more likely to be female, in term three, younger, and to have post‐graduate qualifications in obstetrics and gynaecology. They were also more likely to be practising in lower socioeconomic areas
Patients presenting for pregnancy-related consultations were more likely to be from a non‐English speaking background.
Pregnancy‐related consultations were, on average, of longer duration than other consultation.
Registrars were less likely to generate learning goals in pregnancy-related consultations.
The findings tell us that GP registrars see fewer antenatal problems compared to established GPs. Male registrars, especially, have significantly less exposure to antenatal care, suggesting potential limitation of opportunity to gain skills and experience in antenatal care. There may be scope to increase overall registrar exposure to antenatal care experience and to address the gender imbalance via structural measures in practices’ patient appointment systems or via alternative education, for example, programs providing experience as supernumeraries in obstetrics clinics, or completion of antenatal shared care courses.
GP Synergy registrars will cover antenatal care in their education program. Most HealthPathways have excellent guidelines on antenatal care and protocols in the local area. The Department of Health also has an excellent resource Clinical Practice Guidelines: Pregnancy care.
1Pappalardo E, Magin P, Tapley A, Davey A, Holliday E, Ball J, Spike N, FitzGerald K, Morgan S, van Driel M. General practice registrars’ experience of antenatal care – prevalence and associations: a cross-sectional analysis. 2020. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 60(2): 188-295. DOI: 10.1111/ajo.13042
The paper abstract can be found at Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
If you would like to discuss or read the full-text article, contact Parker Magin.
GP Synergy PD calendar
Make sure you don't miss an event or webinar by accessing the supervisor professional development calendar on our website.
External activity noticeboard
Explore a list of activities and online modules. This includes modules on children's health, dermatology, mental health, prescribing and more!
Need some help?
Find key GP Synergy contacts including Practice Liaison and Support Officers, Supervisor Liaison Officers and Medical Educators with a Supervisor Portfolio.