CEO Update February 2012

Janice Bell
There has not been a lot of time to breathe at WAGPET.  This month we inducted another 50 GP registrars and another cohort of Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) participants so the place was fairly buzzing with energy and excitement on everybody’s part.  That moment when full time hospital work is behind you and the future stretches out before you - terrifying and exhilarating but for many, simply sheer relief.  In July, it will be the turn of nearly another 50 GP registrars, currently waiting in the wings to start their general practice terms.

WAGPET has come from a mere 30 or so registrars in the early years to 93 this year.  Of those, 42% are in rural areas and 50% of PGPPP doctors are in rural areas.  This year we will have 19 doctors in the Kimberley, 17 in Aboriginal health training posts.

To manage the program we have added some new medical educators at WAGPET.  Dr Kaye Atkinson joins us as a senior education consultant, Dr Sandie Dobney as a highly experienced general practitioner, and Dr Sarah Booker as a recent graduate of the WAGPET program. Dr Michelle McNamara, another recent graduate, will also be joining us in March. While they will have a lot to learn I hope you will join me in welcoming them and assisting them to find their feet in the world of general practice training and education.

Our work with the rural practice pathway in WA moves apace with Rural Health West (RHW) developing a shared database for all enquiries about training rurally – be it as a student, prevocational or vocational doctor.  WA Country Health Service (WACHS) have established some excellent packages that include a community residency or a straight general practice rotation.  More such packages are being developed as we speak.  Needless to say the focus on safe quality training is a feature of this new working relationship between the Rural Clinical School of WA (RCSWA), WACHS, Rural Health West and WAGPET.

Later this month we have the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) workshop, where some 60 of you will discuss your achievements as well as hear about the successful Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council (KAMSC) program in the Kimberley.  You will also have a structured opportunity to contribute to the WAGPET strategic plan for 2013-2015 and this contribution will help the Board the next day as it deliberates on this plan.

As most of you now know, WAGPET will be the sole provider of PGPPP from 2013.  With our colleagues at the School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care (SPARHC), University of WA, we will make the transition as seamless as possible over 2012, staying true to what SPARHC has achieved and applying this wisdom to all posts in future.  

At WAGPET we know the real work is in your hands – the patients, the doctors in training, the practices and posts, the supervisors and educators.  As always thank you for your continued support in providing the best calibre general practitioners for all of WA and may our year be a fruitful one in that regard.

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