GPSA Chair Report – May 2024

Change not necessarily the only constant!

April 2024 has been a month of many significant days, extremes of celebration and tragedy, but there is one I would like to highlight in particular.

ANZAC Day is an opportunity to reflect on a great many things: sacrifice, courage, security, commitment, loss, solidarity, trauma… all having a lasting impact equally on loved ones and the community at large as on those who have contributed to our armed forces. GPSA is proud to support our peers who currently serve, those who have served, those who supervise ADF registrars, and those who care for our veterans and their families.

With Autumn in full gear now, May seems to be shaping up as a month of action for all of us in the supervision environment. Some of you will be completing mid-term reports for your registrars, others getting ready for the next round of placements, and hopefully we’re all keeping up with our professional development requirements too.

In my many travels and roles as a GP, I am repeatedly engaged in discussions about GPSA activities. This feedback from a supervisor peer who attended a webinar presented by Dr Simon Morgan and Dr Tim Chappell shows the impact our ongoing educational delivery has on our members:

Thank you both for a very engaging seminar! I watched it because I am a supervisor but benefitted from it as a GP. Tim, you had me at “dementor” and “chocolate”….! I absolutely love my job and listening to what you shared, Tim, it articulated the “why”. It was just good to hear again about the importance of being a good listener, being in your patient’s corner, not giving up on them…. and smiling! As is the case in many places, there is a high demand for services (where I work) and a long wait time and I have wondered if I should be more “matter of fact” and a more efficient problem solver so as to be able to see more patients. But I think that one would then miss out on those nuggets of history that come forth with time, and also the meaningful doctor-patient relationships that we can have in our line of work.

And these words from a registrar who had reached out in a time of difficulty shows the benefit of what GSPA’s focus on the “how” of supervision ultimately has on our trainees:

I am at a new practice now – it is amazing what a difference a supportive supervisor can make. Feeling settled and now actually can start to learn.

It is when we receive such feedback that I know our impact as supervisors goes well beyond supervision, and GPSA’s impact as the supervision peak truly is vital for the future of general practice.

GP training will continue to change, as will general practice. As part of this community of practice, we will have to evolve and keep up with the world around us, yet we can do so in the knowledge that the GSPA values shaped by the “why” and the “how” of supervision will remain a constant on which you can rely.

The other thing you can depend on is GPSA’s commitment to representing you faithfully in our stakeholder engagement, the future direction we are advocating for on your behalf, and in the priorities you share for the current review of the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER).

If you haven’t already done so, please take some time out to complete our National Survey for 2024. This is not an idle exercise. This really is your opportunity to influence future policy around a range of things including workforce, remuneration and recognition of supervision. The information we obtain from this survey helps us share the real issues at the coalface with policy makers and funders, emphasising what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. While this is of course the long term benefit, there’s a short-term one too! Completing “ENGAGE 2024 – Building a better future together” counts towards your CPD (RP) as an added bonus. This survey is open to everyone involved in GP training – supervisors, GPs, practice managers, practice nurses, and others who support learners in general practice.

For anyone who has been involved in registrar employment – terms, conditions, or contract oversight -, now is the time to help us maximise the opportunity to update this legally valid employment instrument. The inevitability of change applies in this area of GP training too, with other employment models being explored under the Single Employer Model pilots, but the NTCER remains relevant to the bulk of GPs-in-training, and we need your contribution to ensure its robustness and utility is maintained and possibly broadened to non-traditional contexts (i.e. beyond the employment of AGPT registrars). We’ve come up with a variety of ways for you to tell us what’s important, which key areas you would like addressed to ensure the next version of the NTCER is fit for purpose into the future. Let us know your views via the NTCER survey and/or by joining one of our member workshops or via email.

So until next month…

May the force be with you!

Dr Srishti Dutta

Date reviewed: 01 May 2024

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