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28 February 2018

Message from the Chair, Dr Ayman Shenouda

RACGP Rural has had a busy start to 2018 advocating for its members. The Minister of Rural Health announced the Collingrove Agreement on 9 February. ‘RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) collaborating on national generalist pathway’ may seem an easy headline, but it was truly momentous and certainly a great achievement. The Rural Board Deputy Chair, Dr Melanie Considine, and I represented RACGP in the meeting held at the Collingrove Homestead in the Barossa Valley, South Australia on 9¬–10 January. I would like to thank our national RACGP Rural Health Commissioner Professor, Paul Worley, ACRRM President Assoc Prof Ruth Steward, ACRRM Censor in Chief Assoc Prof David Campbell, and Dr Rose Ellis from the Rural Doctors Network; together, we have worked hard in a short period of time to secure the milestone agreement.

A Rural Generalist Pathway Taskforce is being formed in the coming months to work through the pathway design. There may still be a long road beyond Collingrove Homestead, but I think we are on the right track towards a clear pathway for rural doctors to acquire skills and use them to meet the needs of their rural and remote communities in a way that is valued and recognised.

In early February, Rural Health Minister, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced a $1,304,967 Federal Government grant for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District to increase intern rotations throughout the region. I’m proud to be contributing with my practice in Wagga, which was selected to participate, and we will be rotating five interns a year through this program.

It was great to show Minister McKenzie around my practice and have a chance to discuss how to provide the valuable community exposure to young doctors early in their training. The Minister showed a deep understanding of what is required in placing policy priority on general practice. She shared my vision that every junior doctor should have a rotation in general practice as part of the first two to three years of training.

The Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable took place on 9 February in Canberra. I attended this discussion along with other key rural stakeholders, Professor Paul Worley and Senator Bridget McKenzie. There was a strong voice for RACGP Rural during the robust discussion to address needs of rural and remote doctors and their communities.

Enrolments in the Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) reached a new high in January. RACGP Rural continues to strengthen our collaboration with the regional training organisations (RTOs) in promoting and supporting the FARGP program. I would like to thank the RACGP Rural team who created new resources that are now available for RTOs and will help guide registrars through their training journey.

Other education initiatives are progressing well with new intakes for Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST) and several point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) workshops taking place; I encourage you to enrol in the POCUS workshop taking place near you.

RACGP Rural continues to be involved in the discussion around the development of an anaesthesia diploma. The final name of this qualification is still to be determined. This and other updates are now available.

Finally, I would like to thank Lauren Cordwell who recently resigned her position as the RACGP Rural manager for family reasons. Lauren will always be remembered for her dedication and all the great work she has done for our rural faculty.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments for any RACGP Rural Board members or staff, please email them to

Recent Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice graduates

The RACGP Rural Chair and Board warmly congratulate the following members who have recently completed the FARGP. 

State FARGP graduates
Northern Territory  Dr Rebecca Ann Henshaw

Dr Matthew Masel
Dr Ma Win Yi

New South Wales

Dr Sarah Galloway
Dr Sazeedul Islam
Dr Nicole Williams

The FARGP gives registrars and practising GPs the opportunity to build up on their confidence and clinical skills in their practice in irder to meet the need of their rural and remote communities. 

We say goodbye to FARGO

We bid farewell to Fargo and his team as they set off to the Teddy Bear Hospital for a career change!

Fargo and his team of five are rural GPs with advanced rural skills disguised in plush kangaroo forms. The team was established in 2012 as a marketing campaign for the FARGP.

After travelling to rural and remote communities across the country to promote the FARGP, they are now off to a new challenge at the Teddy Bear Hospital at the University of Melbourne.

Fargo and the team will now become a part of the Royal Flying Doctors Service Teddies Service highlighting the servicing of rural health needs.

Thank you Fargo and team for continuing to give to rural and remote communities.

GP Anaesthetists discussion forum and networking event

RACGP Rural is pleased to invite general practitioner anaesthetists (GPAs) to its inaugural discussion forum and networking event. This twilight event offers GPAs an opportunity to hear from experts in this field, discuss current issues and to network with other GPAs.

Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda will facilitate the discussion forum. The panellists include Dr Stuart Processer (Director of Medical Services, St John of God Hospital Mount Lawley and Chair, RACGP Joint Consultative Committee on Anaesthesia [JCCA]), Dr Peter Gilchrist (MSC Medical Science BMBS, Dip Anaes.) and Dr Stephanie Giddy (JCCA trainee representative).

Tuesday 17 April 2018

6.00–7.00 pm (Discussion forum - free)
7.00–8.00 pm (Networking and light dinner)

John Murtagh Centre
100 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne VIC

Cost for networking and light dinner:

RACGP members $55 | Non-members $75

The Rural Procedural Grant Program has approved this forum for a one-day anaesthetic grant if combined with Advanced Life Support, anaphylaxis and CICO training held the same day. Contact RACGP Rural for more information (details below).

Register for the free GPAs discussion forum via webinar here (enter your first name, last name and email address)

Tel 1800 636 764

Joint Consultative Committee on Anaesthesia (JCCA) 'Curriculum for general practitioner anaesthesia', 5th edition 2018

The Joint Consultative Committee on Anaesthesia (JCCA) is a tripartite committee with representation from the RACGP, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and ACCRM.

Effective from 1 February 2018, the committee issued a revision of the JCCA’s curriculum for rural general practice anaesthesia, replacing the Curriculum statement in anaesthesia for advanced rural skills and advanced specialised training, 4th edition, 2010.

Access a copy of the curriculum via the JCCA’s website. Registrars can also download the training regulations, a JCCA registrar enrolment form and a logbook. The registrar must enrol prospectively for training with the JCCA Secretariat.

The following is a brief summary of the most important changes:

• From 1 February 2018, the JCCA’s statement of completion of training has a currency of three years dependent on the successful completion of the JCCA continuing professional development standard.

• A statement concerning Scope of Practice has been added together with a table on the American Society of Anaesthesiologists cases a GP is expected to manage.

• The list of emergency medicine courses that can be completed as part of training has been amended.

• A written statement setting out proposed coverage of content for the areas of anaesthesia practice will have to be signed by the parties concerned and periodically reviewed.

• The JCCA has agreed upon an amended paediatric policy.

• All JCCA registrars will be required to maintain a logbook throughout their training. This logbook will need to be reviewed and signed by the supervisor at regular times throughout the training term.

'Introduction to point-of-care ultrasound' workshop at RACGP House, Melbourne

POCUS has gained a lot of interest from GPs for its potential applications in a general practice setting. Twenty-five GPs spent last Saturday at RACGP House in Melbourne to discuss its potential as a diagnostic tool.

Dr Jason Lam and his team of ultrasound experts taught participants how to effectively obtain and interpret sonographic images, while rotating through workstations covering eFAST, IV-access, deep vein thrombosis, musculoskeletal and first trimester obstetrics.

Sponsor Sonosite supplied the hand-held devices for the GPs to use and supported the team throughout the day.

The full-day ALM was well received with one of the participants stating, ‘Great day…many thanks’.

RACGP Rural is offering this ultrasound workshop in various states over the coming months.

Please visit our webpage for details.

Rural Procedural Grants Program

If you are a GP who is credentialed and provides unsupervised anaesthetic, emergency medicine, obstetrics or surgery in a rural hospital (RA2–RA5 location), you may be eligible to register in the Rural Procedural Grants Program (RPGP) and receive financial assistance for upskilling or skills maintenance.

Once registered in the program, procedural GPs (GPs who are providing anaesthetic, obstetric and surgical services) can begin receiving grants of $2000 per day for up to 10 days of training per financial year, and for up to three days of training per financial year for GPs providing hospital-based emergency services.

You must be enrolled in the program prior to attending an activity that you wish to claim through RPGP.

Access the guidelines and application form.

Please contact the RPGP team at or on 1800 636 764 for more information.

The RPGP is a Commonwealth Department of Health funded initiative.

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training 2018

RACGP Rural is offering the FPS ST for the third year now. Twenty-three GPs started this flexible and accessible program on 12 February aiming to become accredited FPS providers.

The training comprises a mix of online modules, self-directed learning and small group learning sessions allowing the participants to complete the program without having to leave their practice.

Past participants particularly enjoyed the case-based discussion groups facilitated by mental health experts, the mental health carer and consumer perspective shared in the training.

There are still places available for 2018 intakes.

More information and register

RACGP Foundation Grants opening soon

The 2018 RACGP Foundation General Practice research grants and awards will open on Monday 5 March 2018 with up to half a million dollars in grant funding available to GPs and general practice registrars.

The RACGP Foundation supports research that can be implemented on the frontline, from researcher to GP to patient.

Professor Tania Winzenberg, General Practice Senior Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania, said the grants are invaluable, ‘These grants provide GPs with one of the few funding opportunities available to enable them to undertake high-quality research specifically relevant to general practice.’

Online applications are available until Monday 7 May 2018.

For more information, please visit the RACGP Foundation website.

6th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium

The National Rural Health Alliance will be organising the ‘Outback Infront: Twenty years of rural and remote health research’ symposium at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra.

The symposium is the biennial forum for the rural and remote health research sector used to share work and insights to advance knowledge and practice.

This event will focus on rural and remote health research that informs strategic health policy and health service challenges in rural and remote Australia.

More information

15th WONCA World Rural Health Conference

New Delhi, India will host the 15th WONCA Rural Health Conference from 26–29 April 2018. This event aims to bring together stakeholders from across the world to address current and future challenges in rural health.

The theme of the conference is ‘Healing the heart of healthcare: Leaving no-one behind’. It will focus on the inequality of access to health care services.

The conference offers bursaries for medical students and young doctors to attend. Please visit the conference website to find out more.

Curing hepatitis C

GPs play a pivotal role in ending hepatitis C transmission. Treating patients is simple and faster with new generation treatments that have very few side effects and contraindications. All patients with hepatitis C should be offered treatment.

In NSW, since March 2016, almost 18,000 people commenced hepatitis C treatment. This figure is an estimated 22% of those living with hepatitis C. Aboriginal people are 8.5 times likely to carry hepatitis C than non-Aboriginal people in NSW. Please monitor all Aboriginal patients with hepatitis C to ensure they receive treatment and to reduce health inequity.

If you aren’t experienced in hepatitis C treatment, you can start by prescribing with a specialist using the remote consultation request form.

Training and resources on hepatitis C treatment can be found on: