NT GP workforce challenges to be examined

By Melissa Coade

Monday October 11, 2021

The RACGP said its mission is to learn from stakeholders in health care settings what challenges face the NT’s workforce and local communities. 
The RACGP said its mission is to learn from stakeholders in health care settings what challenges face the NT’s workforce and local communities. (RACGP)

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) will tour key locations this week in the Northern Territory, including Alice Springs and Central Australia, to understand GP workforce concerns. 

The RACGP said its mission is to learn from stakeholders in health care settings what challenges face the NT’s workforce and local communities. 

RACGP vice president Dr Bruce Willett said that the RACGP understood the serious impact that a doctor shortage had on primary care services in the NT.

“There are simply not enough GPs in the training and practising across the state, particularly in rural and remote areas,” Willet said.

“Everyone deserves access to high-quality general practice care, regardless of their postcode. Without this, we see patients end up in hospital with much worse health issues that could have been managed in general practice.”

As part of a new transition plan, specialists colleges will once again be responsible for delivery of the Australian General Practice Training Program (AGPT). RACGP rural chair Dr Michael Clements said this change would improve the distribution and placements of GPs Australia wide.  

“Nobody understands the problems better than the GPs who are out there working hard in rural and remote communities,” Clements said. 

A blueprint for general practice training published by the RACGP in April also outlines a plan to attract more medicine graduates into GP roles that will see them trained in communities where they are most needed. 

Willett and Clements issued a statement outlining their plans to meet with stakeholders from the Northern Territory Primary Healthcare Network, Northern Territory General Practice Education, and the territory chief health officer Dr Hugh Heggie this week.

Meetings have also been scheduled with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress medical director Dr Sam Heard and with community leaders from local GP practices and the Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) Indigenous community.


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