The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the first comprehensive snapshot of the quality of medical training in Australia.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s Medical Training survey, which aims to gather the most comprehensive, national data possible about medical training nation-wide, found that doctors in training reported relatively positive experiences including:
Teaching sessions were rated as “excellent” or “very good” by 80% of doctors in training, which is a strong position ahead of profession-led training in general practice commencing in 2022.
The anonymous survey, completed by almost 10,000 doctors in training, did however find that there were areas for improvement. Some 44% of GP respondents said they were dissatisfied with the feedback received about exam performance and this is something the RACGP will work to improve.
The most alarming results revealed the problem of bullying, discrimination and harassment in medical training remains an unfortunate reality. The survey found that one in five doctors in training (22%), which includes all specialities, felt they had personally experienced bullying, harassment and/or discrimination in their workplace and 33% had experienced and/or witnessed this behaviour.
The results were more positive for GPs in training, with RACGP trainees experiencing less bullying, harassment and discrimination (14% vs 22%) than the overall cohort, witnessing less bullying (14% vs 27%), reporting it more frequently (41% vs 35%) and noting that it was followed up more often when it was reported (54% vs 52%).
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said that much more must be done to stamp out bullying and discrimination.
“The bottom line is that bullying, discrimination and harassment don’t belong in any workplace.
“When asked whether the RACGP provides access to psychological and mental health support services just 38% said that they agree or strongly agreed – we need to significantly improve that figure.
“It is welcome news that RACGP trainees experienced less bullying, discrimination and harassment than the overall cohort, witnessed less bullying and reported it more frequently. However, it is clear that much more must be done.”
Dr Nespolon noted that the RACGP is working towards ensuring all trainees remain safe in the workplace.
“We are partnering with regional training organisations to develop responses to these issues and the upcoming rural conference in Alice Springs will provide another opportunity to work together for the collective benefit of our future GP workforce.
“The profession-led delivery of general practice training in Australia will commence from January 2022 and combating bullying, discrimination and harassment in that training will be the highest priority.”
Chair of the RACGP’s National Faculty for GPs in Training, Dr Krystyna de Lange, said that every effort should always be made to further enhance medical training and hearing directly from trainees provides every medical college with the opportunity to improve.
“Australia’s medical training is world class - this survey provides a great opportunity to assess how we are conducting medical training and consider where improvements should be made.
“Next year we hope to see an even stronger response from Australia’s future medical workforce.”
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon and Dr de Lange are available for interview.