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26 July 2017

Chair report

Message from the Chair, Dr Ayman Shenouda

RACGP Rural continues to advocate for our rural general practitioners (GPs) and acknowledges the vital role they provide to their communities. Following on from our consultation on rural generalism, we have now released our final Position statement – Rural Generalism 2020.This position statement sets out a clear definition of the term ‘rural generalist’ and the parameters that must be considered in determining a National Rural Generalism Pathway (NRGP).

The term ‘rural generalist’ describes a rural GP working to the full scope of their practice with skill sets that are formed by the needs of the community they serve. These skill sets may encompass both advanced procedural and non-procedural skills with an emphasis on emergency medicine.

The development of the NRGP will be a priority for the Rural Health Commissioner. Recruitment for this position is under way and RACGP Rural looks forward to working closely with the appointee. We think that an NRGP has the potential to enhance and complement the current workforce and it is important we represent our members in all discussions.

I attended the Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable in Canberra on 30 June with Minister David Gillespie. Membership of the Roundtable includes a number of peak bodies representing the rural health workforce and the discussion is always productive. The Roundtable provides expert advice to the Minister and, moving forward, will also advise the Rural Health Commissioner. Following this Roundtable, I met separately with Minister David Gillespie to discuss a variety of issues specific to rural general practice.

Over the past eight months, I visited seven of the 10 regional training providers discussing the Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) program with training staff and medical educators (MEs). This was a highly beneficial experience; it generated feedback that the Rural Education Committee and faculty staff are now using to make positive changes to our FARGP. Two of the initiatives that the team were able to implement were the Medical Educator Network teleconferences (that will facilitate direct communications between RACGP Rural and MEs) and the FARGP Café (a quarterly e-newsletter distributed to registered training organisation staff and MEs directly involved with the FARGP) providing current information and advice on a range of matters related to the FARGP. I look forward to advising you of the exciting work that is being undertaken by the FARGP team over the coming months.

I continue to welcome your ideas, suggestions and feedback on the work of RACGP Rural. Please send your views to me at

RACGP Rural news

Rural Procedural Grants Program update

The 2016–17 financial year has come to a close and the Rural Procedural Grants Program (RPGP) team have been busy facilitating over $9 million worth of procedural and emergency grants to eligible rural GPs to assist in their upskilling. This takes the total of grants distributed by RACGP Rural to approximately $107 million since the program’s inception in 2004.

We have also seen an increase in registrations for the RPGP. In the past financial year, there have been 188 new registrations in both the procedural and emergency components of the program. This takes the total of registrations with The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to 3420.

It is not too late to claim for any relevant training you have undertaken in the 2016–17 financial year. We are able to lodge claims for 2016–17 training in this financial year without it affecting your 2017–18 grant allocation. Please send your certificate of attendance, RPGP claims form and any supporting documentation to and the team will process your claim as soon as possible. The RPGP claim form can be located on the RACGP website.

To be eligible for the RPGP, you must be a GP or registrar and credentialed to work unsupervised in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, Obstetrics or Surgery in a rural hospital (RA 2-RA5).

Financial support is provided as a grant of $2000 per day for up to 10 days of relevant training per financial year for procedural GPs, and for up to three days of relevant training for GPs providing emergency services in a rural hospital. You must be registered in the program prior to undertaking any training.

More information regarding the RPGP is available online, or email your questions to

The RPGP is a Commonwealth Department of Health funded initiative.

FARGP RPL evidence check list

The FARGP team is pleased to announce the recent release of our recognition of prior learning (RPL) evidence checklist, now available to download on our website. The RPL evidence checklist is designed to assist practising GPs who are applying for RPL by identifying the supporting evidence required to complete the FARGP. GPs can then upload all their RPL evidence in one session with just the ‘Learning plan’ and ‘Verify evidence’ modules remaining to be completed.

The checklist also assists registrars who are applying for exemption from either the Advanced Rural Skills Training (ARST) or the six-month ‘Working in rural general practice’ community project as it details the prerequisites and evidence required to be eligible for exemption. Registrars can then submit their exemption request with their supporting evidence when applying for the FARGP.

You can download the RPL evidence checklist.

For further information on FARGP requirements or the RPL process, please call the FARGP team on 1800 636 764, email or visit the FARGP website.

FARGP Community Project workshop at GPTEC 2017

International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney, 15–17 August 2017

Are you attending General Practice Training and Education Conference (GPTEC) in August? Do you have questions about the FARGP Community Project? The RACGP Rural team will be delivering an interactive workshop at GPTEC 2017 titled, ‘Understanding the FARGP “Working in Rural General Practice Community Needs Assessment” Project’ on Wednesday 16 August.

A systematic approach to identifying the specific health needs of a population and identifying gaps in healthcare is important when determining how to meet the needs of the local community. This workshop will engage all participants by exploring how this can be achieved. The workshop will dispel many of the myths and misconceptions, and answer the questions that registrars and MEs have about the FARGP Community Project.

Throughout the session, Dr Ayman Shenouda (Chair, RACGP Rural Board) and Dr Ken Wanguhu (RACGP Rural Censor) will explain the key project components, including topic selection, developing the project plan, conducting a community consultation, project evaluation, preparing an abstract or poster, and a reflective activity.

GPTEC 2017 will be held at the ICC Sydney from 15–17 August.

The RACGP is proud to be the platinum sponsor of GPTEC 2017 and we hope to see many of our members at our exhibition space during the conference.

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training update

Would you like to acquire advanced mental health skills without leaving your practice?

RACGP Rural is now taking registrations for the August intake of the Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST) program.

This modular program enables GPs to extend their mental health skills in an accessible and flexible manner. The program blends online and peer-group learning in four modules and takes approximately 14 weeks to complete.

A participant offered the following feedback on the FPS ST: ‘This has been an invaluable activity and it has already helped in my everyday practice substantially. Living rurally, I don't think I would have had any other opportunity to learn these skills otherwise’.

The FPS ST is eligible for 120 category 1 Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) points and two Category 2 QI&CPD points and has been accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC). Participants who successfully complete the program can apply for FPS provider status with Medicare and gain access to additional Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for FPS services provided in their general practice.

Please visit the RACGP website for more information and to register to commence in August.

GP17 update – RACGP Rural activities


RACGP Rural is excited to be delivering two active learning modules (ALMs) as part of the GP17 – the RACGP conference program. Between the ‘Introduction to point of care ultrasound’ and ‘Rural Hospital Clinical Simulation’ ALMs, there will be over 80 places available that are Rural Procedural Grant (RPGP) eligible. Check out the full GP17 program.

Member Meeting details

The 2017 RACGP Rural Member Meeting:

Date:   Thursday 26 October

Time:   10.45 am – 12.15 pm

Venue: Room C3.3, Level 3, ICC Sydney

All RACGP Rural members are welcome to attend and we hope to see you there.

Social and networking

All current FARGP candidates and graduates are warmly invited to attend a networking lunch on Friday 27 October at the ICC Sydney. Please come along and share your experiences, tips and reflections with your FARGP peers. More details will be sent out in the coming weeks.

We invite all members and GP17 delegates to attend the National Faculties Evening social event on Friday 27 October at the stunning L’Aqua at Cockle Bay Wharf.

Congratulations to GPs acknowledged on the Queen's Birthday Honours List

RACGP Rural congratulates all the GPs and healthcare professionals honoured in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Long standing RACGP Rural Board Members Dr Tim Mooney AM and Dr John Kramer OAM were among the list of deserving GPs celebrated for their dedication to healthcare and services to their communities.


RACGP Rural near neighbours program

Sharing expertise in medical education and training to help support our pacific neighbours strengthen their rural generalist pathways has been on RACGP Rural’s agenda for some time.

For the past few years, this involved capacity building through education and assessment support to assist the University of Papua New Guinea in the delivery of its Master of Medicine (Rural) program.

In October 2017, the RACGP Rural Censor, Dr Ken Wanguhu will be travelling to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to oversee the PNG Masters of Medicine (Rural) exams on behalf of the RACGP. Ken is uniquely qualified to fulfil this role drawing on his experience in first and third world general practice health settings and from his significant procedural skillset. Ken’s first trip, as part of this near neighbours project was in 2011 when both he and then Rural Provost Dr Peter Joseph presented at the PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health Medical’s first annual symposium.

In addition to exam support, the RACGP also provides valuable resources and broader support to doctors enrolled in UPNG MMED (Rural) in the form of honorary overseas membership of the RACGP, access to printed journals through the John Murtagh Library and to our online learning resource gplearning.

The good GP: The two of us – Dr Ken Wanguhu and his patient, Sid

‘Being a GP has taught me that there is a lot more to medicine than disease … it goes beyond the disease – to the patient and their family and to the community. And that’s general practice.’

Dr Ken Wanguhu moved with his family from Kenya to rural South Australia following stints in refugee camps in Somalia and South Africa. He shares his passion for rural general practice in this inspiring video.

The video was first published on 17 February 2016 as part of the ‘Your specialist in life’ campaign.

RACGP news

Attention medical students, interns, PGY2–3 doctors and GP registrars

The RACGP is giving you the chance to WIN 1 of 5 trips to GP17 – the RACGP conference.

There are five prizes to be won valued up to $2517*, including flights, accommodation and registration to GP17.

GP17 is focusing on your health and wellbeing with the Shaping Australia campaign; therefore, the theme of this year’s competition is based on how you look after yourself, whether it is with light exercise, stretching, mindfulness or diet.

How to enter

To enter, upload an image with a caption of 200 words or less to the competition page. Your entry will need to show us how you shape your daily routine to stay physically and mentally well. Share your post and get 30 votes to be eligible to WIN.

For more information, visit

*Terms and conditions apply and can be viewed at the GP17 website.

GP17: What’s already sold out?

Did you know that 3 ALM are already sold out at GP17? Don’t miss out on attending your preferred sessions by registering after everyone else.

With exciting changes to this year’s program we’d love to see you in Sydney this October!
Register now to secure your place.

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Are you able to effectively manage life-threatening emergencies within the first 30 minutes?

Intermediate and advanced Clinical Emergency Management Programs (CEMP) are being held throughout Australia this year.

The highly interactive intermediate workshop builds your knowledge, skills and confidence when responding to medical emergencies and also includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills building.

The two-day advanced workshop focuses on the management of life-threatening adult trauma and paediatric emergencies.

Both courses have been developed by GPs in collaboration with qualified paramedics.

What did participants have to say?

‘One of the best workshops I have ever been to.’

‘I like the way it was targeted towards GP-based scenarios.’

View the CEMP calendar to find a workshop near you.

CEMP workshops are eligible for the RPGP.

External news

AIHW overview of rural health

In late May, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a significant report summarising the health disparities between those living in regional and rural areas compared to the city.

In summary, the report found Australians living in rural and remote areas tend to have shorter lives, higher levels of disease and injury, and less access to, and use of, health services compared to people living in metropolitan areas. Poorer health outcomes in rural and remote areas may be due to a range of factors, including a level of disadvantage related to education and employment opportunities, income and access to health services.

On a more positive note, the report also found that those living in small towns are reporting higher levels of life satisfaction than those living in cities.

View the full report available now.

WONCA Rural seeds – Get involved

The Rural Seeds initiative was launched at the 14th World Rural Health Conference in Cairns earlier this year.

Rural Seeds is a name that embodies ‘Rural World Doctors in Training’. It was created by mostly students and young doctors who are working to raise awareness and provide guidance throughout training for rural practices with mentorship and knowledge available from the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice (WWPRP) and its members as a world network.

Rural Seeds also aims to identify rural healthcare needs in different locales, countries and regions by trying to understand what can be improved through local and global communities.

For more information, to express interest and to get involved in this important global initiative, please visit the Rural Seeds website.

View a video of the launch in Cairns available now.

Click for more information