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National GP organisations chart course for general practice at inaugural Future GP weekend in Melbourne

An inaugural joint meeting of Australia’s future GP workforce in Melbourne has marked a pivotal milestone in charting a course for the general practice specialty in Australia.


General Practice Students Network's (GPSN) National Executive gathered from across the country to identify plans and priorities for 2024, while General Practice Registrars Australia’s (GPRA) National Advisory Council also came together to discuss key issues in helping to shape the future of general practice.


The highlight of the weekend saw both national organisations unite in a joint face-to-face meeting, bringing together the early pipeline of the GP specialty.


GPRA President Dr Karyn Matterson said the gathering in a near-peer environment, which included medical students to Registrar Liaison Officers and practising GPs, was crucial.


“This is the first time we’ve brought together GPSN with our GPRA Advisory Council for the exchange of ideas and experiences that are pivotal in defining the future of general practice,” she said.


“The weekend wasn’t just a convergence of two national bodies. It represented a unified effort to innovate and advocate for a more inclusive and supportive environment for the future GP workforce.”


Following the weekend, GPRA and GPSN agreed on three key priorities in general practice education advocacy for 2024:

  1. GPSN leading a project to help standardise the quality of GP placements in university degrees

  2. Investment in teaching and supervision of medical students to ensure consistency in GP placement training, including an increase in the number of GP registrars teaching students

  3. Reframing peer, patient and GP practices’ perception of medical students in GP placements – for example, ‘student doctor’ instead of ‘medical student”


GPSN National Chair Shawn Yang highlighted the need to reshape the narrative surrounding GPs within universities and communities.


“It’s been really important for GPSN to collaborate with working GPs and registrars this weekend to identify key priorities for next year,” he said.


"Our aim among our peers and patients is to underline that being a GP is not simply a career choice, it's a multifaceted role embedded in the health of communities.


“I think general practice is an extremely unique specialty and there is ample opportunity for it to make an even bigger impact on the community.


“I’m looking forward to GPSN working with GPRA to ensure medical students and communities fully appreciate the breadth of general practice and what it can offer.


“By reshaping perceptions about GPs in universities, we want to ignite a new appreciation for the integral role GPs play in holistic healthcare."


Dr Matterson said GPRA and GPSN plan to hold the collaborative gathering annually.


"This weekend marked the beginning of a powerful collaboration to shape the future landscape of generalism practice – in both urban and rural Australia,” she said.

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