Funding for remote supervision
Adequate funding for GP supervision in Australia has been debated for many years. Supervisors are usually committed to supervision because they want to pass their knowledge and skills on to the next generation, because they enjoy the relationship with younger doctors as it gives them renewed energy for the profession, because they are hoping that registrars will continue to work in their practices or because having a varied work portfolio improves their wellbeing and decreases their risk of burnout. In addition, being adequately paid for their time will decrease their risk of burnout because the supervisors will feel valued by the organisation they are working for, in this case the RACGP.
In order to acknowledge the important work that remote supervisors are undertaking, in the formal, ad hoc, leadership and mentoring roles they play, an increased pay schedule has been negotiated. This will vary depending on the registrar, the placement and the requirements, according to the principles below.
Remote supervision activities that need to be funded
The following activities will need to be contextualised to the needs of the training site, the supervisors and the registrar experience, and paid accordingly:
- remote supervision orientation onsite, plus travel and accommodation for remote supervisor
- weekly remote supervision time
- mid-term site visit, plus travel and accommodation for remote supervisor.
Who funds these remote supervision activities will vary depending on the registrar’s training program and the training site’s eligibility for additional government funding. Training sites that are not eligible for Federal Government funding may still be able to use the guidelines and fund the costs themselves, or other sources of funding may be investigated.
General remote supervision funding principles
- Every placement is different and needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Registrar safety and a quality training experience are paramount.
- If the registrar is part-time, orientation and weekly remote supervision should be pro rata.
- Remote supervisors should not ‘double dip’ for payments during the onsite orientation period. They should be paid to be mostly supernumerary with the registrar.
- The training site/community is encouraged to provide the registrar and supervisor accommodation where possible.
- At least one mid-term site visit should be arranged per term. Where possible, the mid-term supervisor site visits should be combined with locum visits, ECT visits or other activities when the supervisor will be nearby or onsite.
- Where possible, encourage one-year placement because the second orientation period will not be required.