The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging doctors in training to consider a career as a GP caring for patients on the frontline.
Applications for the RACGP’s 2022 Australian General Practice Training opened on Monday 22 March and close on Tuesday 20 April. For more information or to apply visit: www.racgp.org.au/agpt
The call comes as GPs across Australia start administering the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to patients in Phase 1b of the government’s national COVID-19 vaccination program. More than 4,500 practices have been approved to participate in Phase 1b. The program is planned to rapidly roll out to more practices to vaccinate the population.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price said highly trained GPs were needed across Australia.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on the value of GPs in our community – we are the first port of call for patients, we help when you’re sick and we help to keep you well,” said Dr Price.
“Now, GPs on the frontline across Australia are rolling up their sleeves to vaccinate patients and protect our community against the deadly COVID-19 virus. This is a significant step forward in our fight against this virus, as well as a huge logistical exercise which highlights the need for specialist GPs.
“Unfortunately, we know there is a lack of highly trained GPs in our country, particularly in rural and remote areas. We need to fix this right away; everyone deserves access to high quality general practice care no matter their postcode.”
The RACGP President said the career of a frontline GP was both challenging and highly rewarding.
“Every day in the life of a GP is different. The scope of general practice is unmatched among other medical specialties, and you can pursue what really interests you, such as obstetrics, emergency medicine or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
“And of course, GPs are front and centre of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. There’s not been a time in recent history when the valuable role GPs play in our community has been so visible.
“I’m hopeful that it will inspire those choosing their medical speciality – become a GP, not only do we need you on the frontline, but I promise you will find your work there so rewarding. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from helping patients, becoming part of a community, and caring for someone throughout their life.”
Dr Keerthana Muthurangan, who recently completed general practice training, has already had a taste of the challenges and rewards that general practice offers.
“Many of my family members were affected by COVID-19 and I also lost some family friends and extended family in India,” said Dr Muthurangan who spent a few years working in India and currently practices in Albany, Western Australia.
“It is indeed a different reality down here in Albany, we’re lucky to have escaped the worst of the pandemic. However, I still feel very privileged to have worked in the first drive through respiratory clinic of its kind in the Great Southern region.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to contribute on the frontline with my fellow GPs across Australia and the world – because this really is a global effort and every bit counts.
“I believe that GPs are the epicentre of holistic medicine. We support, educate, create awareness, bust myths, keep safe our most vulnerable, take privilege in caring for the dying, and help individuals and families live their best lives for a happier, healthier Australia.”
Dr Muthurangan is looking forward to furthering her skills and experience in her areas of interest, including children's health, obstetrics, and geriatrics.
She is currently helping with the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout, overseeing the first shots going to the most vulnerable patients in her area.
“I’m excited to be involved in the national vaccine rollout. Administering vaccines is business as usual for GPs, but this is different, it’s a historic moment in our fight against this virus and protecting our community. It is an enormous task and hard work but it’s also so rewarding.”