GPSA Chair Report – December 2023

Celebrating the year that was, and excited about what lies ahead!

As I write this Chair report, the last one of this year and my first as Chair, I cannot help but reflect on what a phenomenal year 2023 has been for all of us.

General Practice continues to show we are resilient and resolute despite the challenges that have come our way – attempting to return to a new normal post-COVID, the MBA’s new CPD requirements, and the transition to College-led training to name a few.

The year has also brought opportunities to reconnect, reinvigorate and reinvest ourselves in sharing, teaching and learning across the many events where GPSA has been well represented: PONC, RDAQ, GPME, AAPM, RMA, WONCA, the Australian and New Zealand Prevocational Medical Education Forum, and AIDA. I am sure our members and stakeholders maximised these opportunities to meet with our CEO Carla Taylor, COO Leonie Chamberlain, my predecessor Dr Kevin Arlett, Education Manager Dr Simon Morgan, and Director of Research and Policy Dr Samia Toukhsati.

The GPSA board remains committed to supporting all staff members in our small but effective team in order to deliver high quality educational content, trailblazing research, and useful resources. We envisage these activities and resources will ensure ongoing support to our supervisor and practice manager members, and keep us aligned with our ultimate mission to be the voice of a thriving GP training sector that is united, suitably recognised, rewarded, and respected as the cornerstone of this nation’s healthcare system.

This year we have run a total of twenty (20) webinars that were attended and viewed in record numbers by our members, and the GPSA teaching plans and guides continue to be widely downloaded by supervisors – and at times registrars to support their learning. Kudos to our education team Drs Simon Morgan, Jess Wrigley and Matt Burden, the latter two joining GPSA in an official capacity this year.

The research and policy team has more than its fair share of wins too, having just learnt we’ve successfully secured funding for “Strengthening the recruitment, support, and retention of women GP supervisors: a framework and implementation model” from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) Education Research Grant 2024 program. This is a legacy piece that was conceived under the guidance of Dr Nicole Higgins in her time as Chair.

GPSA also launched the “Scenario” mobile app – a clinical reasoning toolbox designed to augment the learning experience for educators, supervisors, medical students, and trainees alike – and will soon be rolling out a student-facing forum app that ties in with this, “ScenarioEd”, for medical students and trainees across the globe to better experience the international community of practice we work in.

We are indeed still the little team that gets a lot of stuff done!

I take on the role of Chair for the GPSA Board with a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, we said goodbye to Dr Kevin Arlett our previous chair, Dr Justin Coleman and Dr Madhu Tamilarasan – all stalwarts in their own right in the GP training domain. You will be missed. Yet at the same time I am looking forward to working with an incredibly talented and diverse Board with two new members, Drs Nick Tellis and Shea Wilcox. We are grateful you have chosen to bring your wisdom and enthusiasm to the GPSA board. This a Board that seeks to represent the best aspects of GP training and its members in its diversity. It captures not just diversity of identity, also of skills, thinking, type of trainees, geographical location, and GP experience/roles. We haven’t quite reached perfection, but I am a firm believer of progress over perfection.

Lastly, I will say this: the coming year will bring us many new issues to navigate such as the 2024 review of the NTCER, new rounds of GP registrar placements, Single Employer Model, and a steady increase in the number of medical student placements in community general practice. Ultimately it is the junior doctor and medical student experience that is a testament to how we have succeeded in enabling and ensuring a safe and thriving learning environment. We will continue to work closely first and foremost with GPRA and indeed other peak bodies – RACGP, ACRRM, AIDA, RDAA and AMA – and advocate for sustainability of our supervisor workforce and training practices.

Training practices and supervisors currently function in an imperfect environment and yet have always delivered effective teaching. Supervisors are to GP education what GPs are to the nation’s healthcare; this expert generalism in training / teaching under our apprenticeship model is not easy to measure and too often feels invisible. Future-proofing GP teaching and training includes making supervision in practice viable and sustainable – financially and in terms of cognitive effort. I hope we do not forget that there is a fine line between heroism and martyrdom.

To the members of GPSA, this is an organisation that is inclusive in values and in action. I invite supervisors irrespective of where you are and who you supervise/teach to join the GPSA Community. The Community reflects our commitment to developing communication channels for peer-to-peer networking and mentoring, and we will receive all member contributions with gratitude.

To end (and this is particularly for the Marvel fans amongst us), I will borrow the words of the one called Optimus Prime: GPSA members and potential members, “it is time to come home!

Date reviewed: 30 November 2023

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