The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has announced a contract with the federal Department of Health and Aged Care under which it will deliver GP training in Australia from February 2023.
The organisation described it as the largest medical vocational training contract ever signed by an Australian government.
The signing of the contract comes after the return of GP training to Australia’s specialist medical colleges, the RACGP and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), was announced in October 2017 by former health minister Greg Hunt.
RACGP President Karen Price welcomed the signing of the contract.
“This is a key milestone in the transition to profession-led training, and the transition toward an even stronger future for GP education and training in Australia,” she said.
“We have signed the single largest medical vocational contract entered into in history by an Australian Government, which signals successive governments’ trust in the College’s capability to deliver high-quality GP training for our community.
“Just as general practice is integral to our health system, GP training is fundamentally important to provide our next generation of GPs, who will care for our communities into the future.
“At a time when Australia is battling the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic alongside rising rates of chronic disease, an ageing population and mental health crisis, general practice has never been more important.
“The College recognises the privilege and responsibility entrusted in us and we are committed to delivering a program that equips all stakeholders, including our GP supervisors, registrars, administrators and medical educators to provide world-class training.”
The RACGP President said the new training program will be nationally managed and supported and locally delivered.
“We are well-aware that existing local teams are crucial to the success of GP training, including our local regional training organisation colleagues, local supervisors, administrators and of course registrars – and they will remain so under our leadership,” she said.
The RACGP’s CEO Paul Wappett said he encourages regional training organisation staff to consider employment with the College.
“We are working to make this a seamless transition, with as little disruption to the delivery of GP training as possible.
“We are also working closely with numerous stakeholders to make this happen, including the Department of Health, peak bodies representing GP supervisors and registrars, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation or NACCHO, rural workforce agencies and clinical schools, primary health networks, state health organisations, local hospitals and community health services, the list goes on.
“Although this is one of the most complex mergers that will happen in Australia this year, given that we are merging nine organisations into one, I am proud to see the progress we have all made, and I look forward to continuing to work together to deliver world-class GP training, and to secure the future of primary care in Australia.
“Because everyone in Australia deserves access to world-class general practice care, no matter their postcode.”