The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has announced the election of Dr Karen Price as its new president.
The organisation said Dr Price's term will take effect from the close of its Annual General Meeting on 30 November 2020.
Dr Price will succeed Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda, who assumed the role of acting president following the death of the late Dr Harry Nespolon. Dr Nespolon passed away in July following a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
RACGP board chair Christine Nixon said that she looked forward to working with Dr Price when she officially assumes the role later this year.
“The RACGP has many talented and determined GP members delivering the highest quality of patient care and our new President comes with a strong track record of representing their interests and fighting for them,” said Ms Nixon.
“The Board looks forward to working alongside Dr Price from November.”
“The leadership roles I have undertaken mean that I have my finger on the pulse of what issues matter to GPs in communities across Australia,” said Dr Price.
“I want to extend that knowledge even further and as President my priority will be to improve engagement with members. It doesn’t matter if you work in a major city or if you are the sole doctor in a small town – I want to hear what you have to say and what I can do to help you.
“I plan to meet regularly with groups of GPs in all corners of the country. In the months ahead, these will have to be video meetings rather than face-to-face interactions, but the most important thing will be explaining my agenda as President and listening to the insights of GPs.
“I will draw on my experience in establishing a platform for GPs, as well as my near completion of a PhD on peer connection, to generate a more open and inclusive college that values member engagement.”
Dr Price said she plans to "hit the ground running".
“I will work closely with the executive, the CEO Dr Matthew Miles and Board members to ensure the RACGP is not left behind.
“I look forward to working closely with Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda in the important handover period. I would like to personally commend Dr Shenouda’s outstanding contributions during a very difficult year – he has my deepest respect.
“We must be ambitious, speak up for our members and clearly articulate what we want. Heading into 2021, I plan to reassert the role of general practice and adopt a ‘GPs first’ approach when meeting with the nation’s health leaders.
“I also believe we need to collaborate with other healthcare groups to provide a united force in our dealings with Government. We will not agree on everything but, where possible, we can and should work together.”
Dr Price said that general practice has been under-funded and underestimated for too long.
“We know that primary care is the best available system to drive accessible quality care to all Australians no matter where they live, so we need to put general practice back on a sustainable funding footing,” said Dr Price.
“We must fight hard to get the resources we need to care for our patients and involve them in that fight for their social contract of health, and that includes working with national patient organisations.
“We are living in uncertain times, but there is reason for hope. The bushfires and the pandemic have demonstrated once again how vital primary care is when health crises strike and as President I will seize all opportunities for meaningful advocacy.”