As the year comes to a close, I want to thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to our general practice profession and for continuing to provide primary care in communities across Australia. To our registrars, congratulations on another worthwhile year of learning and serving your communities.
This was the second year of the global pandemic and, once again, medical professionals, including GPs, played a crucial role in responding to this health crisis. Among the many challenges that 2021 presented, from closed domestic and international borders to lockdowns and remote working, the RACGP has continued to be the voice of GPs in our growing cities and throughout rural and remote Australia.
I am especially proud of the role that the RACGP and our members have played supporting the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, both as an advocate for getting vaccinated and against misinformation, and on the front lines administering doses into Australian arms. Our work has been critical to ensuring that Australia reaches the vaccination rates required to allow the country to open up in a COVID-safe way.
This has also been a year of change for the RACGP. After consulting with staff and members, in November we announced organisational changes to better align our structure to deliver the drivers of value that you have told us are most important to you.
So the RACGP will now be organised according to the three key member value pillars:
- Advocacy and policy
- Member engagement
- Education and standards – supported by two organisational efficiency and effectiveness units
- People, capability and transformation; and
- Business services.
Under our new organisational structure, the RACGP will be better able to focus on the areas that members have told us are most important to them: focused advocacy, facilitating opportunities to learn and network, and ensuring that the standards required to become and remain a Fellow of the RACGP are high.
This organisational restructure has resulted in some personnel changes within the college. I want to take this opportunity to once again thank those who are leaving us for their service to the organisation, and to wish them well for their next endeavours.
With this process almost complete, the RACGP looks forward to continuing to work with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to deliver a sustainable pipeline of safe, competent, and confident GPs and rural generalists to communities across Australia.
This year also saw the RACGP continue to work with the Government and industry to progress the transition to profession-led, community-based training (PLT). As you know, in 2017 the Australian Government announced its decision to transition Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program to the RACGP and ACRRM. This new PLT model is designed to attract more doctors, deliver excellence in general practice training and better meet the needs of the community.
The RACGP is committed to working with each Regional Training Organisation (RTO) to agree on the best transition pathway for them. We know this is not a one-size-fits-all approach; we want to emphasise that this not about applying any single model to all RTOs. The transition to PLT has, and will continue to be, a large and challenging project, and while we may not always get every step right, I want to assure you that the RACGP is committed to communicating in an open, honest and transparent way, while maintaining confidentiality where necessary.
I have attached a brochure and frequently asked questions document that contain important information about where we are up to at this stage of the transition. We look forward to continuing this work in 2022 in preparation for the completion of the transition in early 2023.
Finally, I am delighted to inform you that our intake for the AGPT Program in 2022 demonstrates once again the attractiveness of the general practice profession to recent medical graduates. A total of 1328 AGPT positions (plus 30 supernumerary Australian Defence Force places) have been filled out of the 1381 available places for 2022, leaving only 53 remaining. These figures assure us that our pipeline of competent and confident GPs and rural generalists is strong.
Thank you again for your hard work in what was another challenging year. GPs are central to the communities in which they operate, and we appreciate your continued support of the RACGP, just as we will continue to represent, support and advocate for your interests.
I wish you and all your staff a safe and restful break and I look forward to working with you in the new year.