GPSA Chair Report – June 2023

Participating, Networking, Driving Change

2023 is turning into a very big year for GPSA. We continue to have a seat at the table in a wide variety of stakeholder meetings, and the conference year kicked off for us last month with the RACGP Practice Owners National Conference (PONC) in Adelaide, followed quickly by the GPME Conference in Sydney.
PONC saw a huge number of conversations between Carla (CEO), Leonie (COO) and myself with Supervisors and potential Supervisors at the GPSA booth. While there were many inspiring stories, and a great deal of laughter, this face-to-face event gave many members the chance to share concerns and grievances we welcomed in equal measure. Many potential Supervisors expressed frustration that RACGP is refusing to induct new training practices due to the supply/demand issue with more Supervisors than Registrars in the current market. We have been petitioning RACGP on your behalf to see if and when this situation is going to change, but with no real answers as yet we have been looking to other options to harness a passion for training even if outside AGPT (more on this in coming months).
The overwhelming issue concerning Practice Owners at PONC was Payroll Tax. As you all know, the concept of State Revenue Offices (SROs) charging Payroll Tax on payments that independent Practitioners earn through work in General Practices has been raised often and loudly. If implemented, this would spell the death knell for a significant number of General Practices across Australia. Should the State Governments be allowed to trim their percentage off the top of every grant that is made to General Practice, a lot of Commonwealth’s changes to Medicare will be put under threat. The RACGP is well aware of this and continue with their advocacy in this space. GPSA also speaks regularly with the Commonwealth and advocates in our own way for this to be sorted, having shared your responses to our rapid survey with AMAQ and RACGP at the start of the year with great effect in the stay of execution on the Queensland SRO ruling. Payroll Tax is also treated as a deduction at the end of the financial year, effectively reducing the ATO’s revenue… I am not sure the Commonwealth will want to lose on their tax income any more than they will want to watch primary healthcare disintegrate beneath this added burden.
The other issue affecting Supervisors is that following the Transition we have moved to a new nationally-homogenised “open market” process with Registrars.  Even though this is can be effective in a mature, settled market, it is currently creating issues for those not used to this system, with Registrars applying for Training Practices close to where they live for their first terms, unaware that not all General Practices are created equal. Some Practices are better suited to the training demands of GPT1 and GPT2 Registrars than others: without some guidance the Registrar may end up in a Practice that can’t support them with the quality of experience they expect, potentially leading to attrition from the training program. The stories are coming in thick and fast – in one case, a Practice had 1 spot for a Registrar and received 10 applicants; in another, a Registrar applied to 16 Practices. This creates a lot of unnecessary work for both Registrars and Supervisors and ultimately ends up with more than one party feeling cheated. What do you think would work best? A hybrid model of Registrar allocations? Join in the discussion in the Supervisor, Practice Owner and Practice Manager groups on our Community Platform and share your opinions and ideas so we can flag these with the Colleges to drive the best outcome for all.
Don’t forget the 2023.2 Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and Key Feature Problem (KFP) exams will now be delivered in a paper-based format, as announced by the RACGP on Tuesday 30th May. There is no change to the schedule or location of the Fellowship exams, but after consistent and rigorous testingrevealed an issue that could impact candidates’ exams, this decision was made to ensure that every candidate has a seamless experience on exam day. 
Anyway, as the end of 2023.1 rapidly approaches, hopefully Supervision is going well and we are all steering excellent Registrars toward rewarding careers in General Practice / Rural Generalism! 

Date reviewed: 05 June 2023

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