(00:31) Dr Singleton and Dr Stoupas acknowledge the passing and contribution of the late Dr Harry Nespolon before introducing the conversation that had been previously recorded.
They confirm the importance of having a say on the issues surrounding general practice and voting.
Introduction of Dr Harry Nespolon and Ms Christine Nixon
(02:29) Dr Nespolon points out that voting is important for members to express their view and that it is also particularly valuable to the incoming President, as more substantial voting numbers give the elected position more authority.
(03:03) Dr Nespolon explains the role of the President and what it takes to do the job.
He underscores the importance of corporate governance skills and of keeping in mind that the job is about advocating on behalf of general practice. Which in turn, means trying to make life as easy as possible for GPs.
(04:05) Dr Nespolon outlines his motivation for taking on the role in the first place, and the fact that it took him a few goes to be elected.
He felt that the college was more focused on the relationship between itself and the government, rather than the relationship between the college and its members. His endeavour was to address that and to make the college more GP-member friendly.
(06:23) Dr Nespolon describes a typical day in the life of the job and his experience of the last couple of years – suffice to say that it is action packed.
It involved plenty of weekend work, a lot of travel (with 79 trips in his first year of Presidency) and plenty of unexpected issues, as was the case for him with the bushfires and COVID-19. Among all of that, he also of course needed to see a few patients in his clinic.
(07:40) Dr Singleton follows up with Christine Nixon on the difference between her role as Chair and Dr Nespolon as President, acknowledging that in some instances these roles would be combined.
Christine explains that she primarily focuses on the management of the RACGP Board and keeping the college on strategy, where the role of the President is often more outward focused. They have had a valuable partnership in managing both the inward and outward facing demands of the organisation.
(09:07) Christine outlines the value of becoming a member of the various faculties, and councils, which cover 10 special interest groups across the country.
If someone wanted to get involved in the college but wasn’t ready to nominate for President, she figures that the first step to being involved might be to stand for a faculty board’s council. And then, maybe move on to a faculty Chair position.
(12:55) Dr Nespolon describes what the next phase of the college might look like and what will be in store for the newly elected President.
He figures that it will be a transition phase for the college because it is in effect, going through a generational change.
(15:44) Dr Stoupas asks both Christine and Dr Nespolon to reflect on a highlight from their terms in office.
Christine starts off with how proud she feels about the way that the college supported GPs and the community through the bushfires. She also thought it was amazing to see how people stepped up to support each other through the COVID-19 response.
(16:37) Dr Nespolon explains how one of his highlights is that general practice is becoming a mainstream issue and that patients are beginning to champion the service that GPs provide.
He also felt that the COVID-19 response was worthy of mention. For continuing to be agile and stay open, manage patients and manage risk, he offers his congratulations to both general practices and GPs for the work that they’ve done.
(19:04) Both acknowledge some of the challenges for GPs moving forward, but Dr Nespolon underscores the importance of financial viability for GPs.
While fee-for-service will always form the basis of general practice, how we deal with chronic care and how we best deliver to those patients while ensuring that general practices stay open is the challenge. GPs and young doctors need to be rewarded both professionally and financially.
(20:22) Dr Nespolon describes the election process and outlines a few of the dates and milestones.
Again emphasising the importance of members checking their email and clicking the voting links, as well as encouraging them to read the statements from all of the nominees.
(21:26) Dr Singleton takes the opportunity to plug the Presidential debates, an online event where listeners can hear from all the nominees about what they would do in the role of President.
(22:16) Finally, Dr Nespolon calls on RACGP members to do their research, get involved and then vote from an informed position.