26 November 2020

RACGP strengthens international partnerships to advance GP education and patient care

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is expanding its international partnerships to improve GP education and patient care.

Members of the RACGP Board met with international medical colleges to explore forming an alliance at an inaugural Presidential Roundtable on Wednesday 25 November, as part of GP20 – the RACGP’s flagship annual conference for GPs.

Participants to the conference include representatives of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA), and kindred colleges from: Canada, Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, as well as Australia’s Principal Medical Advisor and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd.

The presidents and leaders from general practice associations discussed challenges in providing quality continuing medical education (CME) at a time of major uncertainty worldwide, and how they can be overcome. After gaining their qualifications, all GPs need to undertake continuing education and training to maintain and further develop their expertise.

All participants expressed their willingness to explore forming an alliance to advance GP education, and strengthen primary care for patients worldwide.

RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda welcomed the initiative as a positive step forward.

“I am proud to be leading the RACGP as we team up with GP colleges worldwide.                                        

“This comes as our global community faces some of the greatest health challenges in living memory, and GPs are on the frontline. Our common challenges include not just the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, but rising chronic conditions, anxiety and mental health.

“By working together with our fellow international colleges we can to build general practice capability and improve global community health outcomes.

“A key area of focus for our alliance is resolving the challenges in providing high quality ongoing training and education for GPs – which is essential to advance healthcare standards and tackle the great health crisis of our times.”

Professor Michael Kidd, a past president of WONCA, said GPs worldwide were unsung heroes of healthcare, and deserve far greater recognition.

“2020 has highlighted the value of general practice in our communities, particular the role of GPs in times of disaster and national emergency.

“Here in Australia over the past year we’ve faced serious health crises with the deadly summer bushfires, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In both instances, GPs have been on the frontline supporting their patients and their communities, and in the aftermath we know they will continue to be there to help their patients and communities heal.

“That is what makes general practice so valuable to the community here in Australia, and around the world. Your GP is with you and your family for life, through good times and hardship – we are here to help when you are sick and facing great challenges, and to help you stay well.”

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