RACGP ready to take on Far North Queensland GP training

Royal Australian College of GPs

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has emphasised its readiness to prepare GPs to serve the north of the state.

In February, the College said it was ready to take on GP training in the region after James Cook University announced it would transition away from GP training in 2024.

Training will officially change over to the RACGP on 10 June, after extensive preparation and careful management to ensure a seamless transition. The College will continue existing training agreements with registrars, supervisors, and practices for the remainder of 2024.

In 2023, the College successfully managed the onboarding of GP training from Regional Training Organisations. More than 92% of GPs in training reported they were satisfied with the quality of their in-practice training in the 2023 National Registrar Survey, and ratings from GPs in training improved in most metrics of the most recent Medical Training Survey after the transition.

This change will come soon after the RACGP’s Practice Owners Conference, running this weekend from 24-26 May in Cairns, within the Far North Queensland GP training region.

RACGP President and Mackay GP Dr Nicole Higgins said that having seen the transition of all other training regions in Australia to the RACGP in 2023, she is confident the transition will be equally seamless.

“Seeing the last transition as both a GP and practice owner, it exceeded my expectations,” she said.

“The scale of that change was enormous – the experienced training and support teams the College onboarded almost tripled its headcount and replaced nine separate IT platforms, uniting the vast majority of GP registrars in one Training Management System and a nationally consistent program.

“Every major changeover has challenges, and the RACGP is always looking for ways to improve processes, but I’m confident our new teams and registrars will receive exceptional support.

“Our Queensland team have had 12 months’ experience delivering the Australian General Practice Training program at the College, and they will work closely with their new team members to unite all GP training in Australia into what has been shown to be a supportive and high-quality training program and set them up for success.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the work James Cook University has done to prepare GPs for practice in the region. They have created a strong base for Far North Queensland GP training and its transition to the RACGP.”

RACGP GPs in Training faculty Chair Dr Rebecca Loveridge said the largely positive experience with the 2023 transition had made her confident in the College to manage the changeover.

“While there are challenges, the RACGP’s team works promptly to address these, and the College regularly seeks the views of the GPs in training Faculty. The Faculty Council, and particularly the Queensland and Rural representatives, will continue to work to ensure issues with our new Far North Queensland registrars are represented.”

“The results of the registrar surveys were encouraging and backed up what we had heard from individual GPs in training; day to day work and quality of training was not adversely affected by the transition.”

RACGP Vice President and Rural Chair Associate Professor Michael Clements, who practices in Townsville and remote clinics, said ensuring the far north has access to sufficient GPs and registrars is a priority for the RACGP.

“Where general practices have had to close when a GP retires, it’s been distressing for North Queensland communities,” he said.

“It’s clear Far North Queensland communities need a sustainable GP workforce, and this should be a priority for the state. We’ll benefit from the local expertise of our new colleagues, supervisors, and registrars, and continue to work towards a sustainable Far North Queensland GP workforce.”


/Public Release.