Summer Salad

January/February 2009

General practice registrar teaching roles

Is there a need for shared understanding?

Volume 38, No.1, January/February 2009 Pages 77-80

Jenny Dodd

Alistair Vickery

Hilleke van Osch

Jon Emery


There is currently a shortage of general practitioners and an increase in the number of medical students and general practice trainees. The expanded involvement of general practice registrars in teaching roles has been suggested as part of the solution to increasing the number of teaching roles in general practice.


Survey and interviews of 273 GPs and 84 registrars mapping barriers to, and potential for, general practice registrar teaching capacity in Western Australia.


Results showed that 52.1% of GPs and 77.1% of registrars agreed that general practice registrars could increase teaching roles in general practice settings, but the two groups differed in their views about the scope of such teaching.


This study reports on the congruence and difference in views between GPs and registrars concerning the capacity for and scope of general practice registrar teaching in the general practice setting. There is a need to negotiate and identify the most appropriate general practice registrar teaching roles with both groups.

There is a shortage of general practitioners, particularly in outer suburban and rural areas, while at the same time the increase in the numbers of medical students and general practice registrars is placing pressure on teaching capacity. The limitations of the current Australian medical education system to respond to these workforce changes are expected to present challenges until at least 2012, despite the opening of new medical schools and the introduction of full fee paying students.1–5

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