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Chapter 6: The future of the general practice workforce

6.1 Graduates entering pre-Fellowship GP training

As discussed in section 2.2.3, the RACGP has identified that changes in work patterns could mean a larger head count of GPs will be needed in the future to provide the same level of patient access. However, the level of interest among medical graduates in entering general practice training appears to be waning. In 2018, 15.4% of final year medical students listed general practice as their preferred specialty, the lowest percentage since 2012.54 The number of eligible applications for the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program has declined by 17% since 2015, while the number of Australian medical graduates has increased by 20% over the same period (Figure 60).

Figure 60. The number of medical graduates interested in the AGPT Program is in decline

The number of medical graduates interested in the AGPT Program is in decline 2301 2318

Measure: number of graduates/applicants/trainees, by year
Data sources: Department of Health. Health Workforce Division. Unpublished data provided to the RACGP July 2020.
Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. Student statistics tables 2015–2018; and Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. Student statistics report 2019–20. Sydney, MedicalDeans, 2020.


The top three responses why AGPT Program registrars decided to become GP specialists were the hours and working conditions for the specialty (80%), the diversity of patients and medical presentations (65%), and the ability to build long-term relationships with patients (57%) (Figure 61).

65%
of AGPT Program registrars chose general practice due to the diversity of patients and medical presentations

Figure 61. Top reasons AGPT registrars chose general practice training

Top reasons AGPT registrars chose GP training

Measure: Responses to question, ‘Why did you decide to become a specialist GP?’ (select all that apply), top 11 of 18 response options.
Base: Total survey respondents, n = 1460
Data source: Radloff A, Clarke L, Matthews D. Australian General Practice Training Program: National report on the 2019 National Registrar Survey. Australian Council for Educational Research, 2019 [Accessed 15 August 2020]. 

  • 54. Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. National data report 2019. Sydney: Medical Deans, 2019.

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