GP Synergy

Reports

Chair's message

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Dr Ian Kamerman

Chair

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I present the 2020-2021 annual report for GP Synergy. In doing so, I note that in my previous report I claimed that the year had been exceptionally challenging. Perhaps one constant in the field of health care and general practice is the constancy of challenges.

Whilst writing this I reflected on my own medical training. I was in the five-year course at The University of Sydney. Their motto is 'Sidere mens eadem mutato' and if I can do it justice 'The stars change, the mind remains the same'.

This never made much sense to me as a medical student. How do stars change? But of course, this was written at the time when universities, such as Sydney, had only just commenced. The constellations were different in the Southern Hemisphere. What the founders were trying to say, was that despite being within a new and foreign landscape, the learning would remain the same.

Perhaps there is new meaning that can be taken from this old motto.

The whole health system is changing due to the pandemic, rapidly so. We are living with COVID-19. General practice has moved largely to telehealth. We wear PPE. We are in lockdown. Our lives are spent in the practice or in our home. No one is in the office. General practice has led the way in vaccinating our communities in order to keep our country safe.

Our GP training system is also midway through major reform. We have seen multiple discussion papers and inquiries from the government. The Rural Generalist Training Pathway has been launched. Our whole general practice training program is moving towards profession-led training, where control of the program shifts from the Department of Health to the colleges.

Despite all this, and with a fair degree of confidence, the learning remains the same within GP Synergy. Our education program remains of the highest quality and our educators achieve exceptional results at registrars attaining Fellowship. Our dedicated staff provided the same learning and same support throughout the changes wrought by the pandemic. Our practices and supervisors mentor and train their registrars with the same dedication. Our registrars have the same enthusiasm for the care they provide and the training they receive despite the multiple changes that are thrown at them.

In the twenty years of Australian general practice training there have been multiple challenges and countless changes. The ground (and stars) continually shift, but the learning remains the same, both now and into the future.

SIDARE MENS EADUM MUTATO

Everything changes. The learning remains the same.

CEO report

As we traverse yet another challenging period for all of our registrars, supervisors, training facility teams and GP Synergy’s own staff, it is truly inspiring to reflect on the success and achievements of the past year.

We recognise that in order to achieve our vision of training highly skilled medical practitioners contributing to healthier local communities, GP Synergy must work with other stakeholders in the delivery of high-quality training experiences to improve the attraction and retention of GP registrars in NSW and ACT.

Following on from our focus last year to augment our stakeholder engagement, it was truly pleasing to be able to deliver our Stakeholder Statement of Intent.  This has been enhanced with a targeted implementation plan to ensure each of our team members are well equipped to understand and effectively contribute to meeting the needs and expectations of our many stakeholders.

GP Synergy team members across NSW and ACT have been fundamental in our ability to support the successful delivery of the AGPT and PEP programs.  I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for the contribution they have made in the past year and their continued dedication to their role in supporting the future of general practice. 

Furthermore, I would also like to recognise that we could not have delivered the program without the commitment of our many supervisors and their training facility team members.  Our success is underpinned by the fundamentals of general practice being taught through the apprenticeship model, which absolutely depends on their passion and commitment.

Managing a regionally dispersed organisation has seen GP Synergy adapting the program even more at a local level over the past year, with the ability to engage in face-to-face training activities being variable at many different stages.  On this note, I would like to show our appreciation to our external presenters and clinical teaching visitors for their agility in moving between online and in-person visits, often at short notice.  More than 2200 visits have been delivered remotely and over 1600 hours of the education program this year has been converted to online delivery.

To support registrars, supervisors and team members we implemented a number of targeted wellbeing initiatives. This saw over 1300 registrars accessing our wellbeing supports; every supervisor receiving an additional teaching payment in recognition of their contribution above and beyond normal program requirements; and numerous staff wellbeing activities, support and incentives to help them focus on remaining well through extended lockdowns and long periods of working remotely.

In June, we were proud to have had our Stretch RAP endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. It represents an important progression from the Innovate RAP, which we launched in 2017. Our new 2021-2024 Stretch RAP demonstrates our commitment to taking the next steps towards embedding reconciliation into our everyday business processes, presenting longer-term strategies that support GP Synergy’s vision to work in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community towards reconciliation.

The year ahead will be one filled with opportunities and unknown challenges as we support the AGPT program through its transition to profession-led training.  GP Synergy is committed to ensuring that the NSW and ACT communities can continue to access high-quality, future-focussed primary healthcare. Having a sufficient and an optimally distributed registrar workforce, who are able to continue their training without interruption, will support this outcome. For this to be achieved, the retention and optimisation of local industry knowledge, capability and culture cannot be compromised. Maintaining high standards of registrar education and training, and support for supervisors and training facilities who are integral to the program’s success, is essential to ensuring ongoing high quality primary healthcare provision.

As you review our annual report, I trust you will find the many collaborations, innovations and research activities presented within, of interest to you.   Many of you will also see how your contribution has enabled our shared success in NSW and ACT over the past year.

To my senior management team colleagues and confidantes, Vanessa, Sue, Parker, Nicky, Kirby, Kate, Cameron, Anthony, Andrew and my Executive Assistant Krystal, thank you all for your invaluable effort and the manner in which you have led your teams in support of our organisational priorities and strategic direction.  It is an honour to work with you all.   

In closing, I extend my appreciation to the GP Synergy Board for their guidance throughout 2020-2021. Your direction has been central to enabling the senior management team and I to deliver on the GP Synergy purpose and achievement of our strategic goals.

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Georgina van de Water

CEO

Director of Education and Training update

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Dr Vanessa Moran

Director of Education and Training - NSW and ACT

I am delighted to be writing another annual report as the Director of Education and Training for GP Synergy, the largest provider of the AGPT program and RACGP PEP training in the country. This represents my fifth year in this role, and I am grateful for the experience I have gained over this time as well as the incredible team around me to navigate the 2020-2021 year.

The latter half of 2020 found us embedding what we had learned at the start of the pandemic, in particular the switching from face to face to remote delivery of education and training requirements.

I am pleased that our education teams continued to provide high-quality education to our registrars, participants, supervisors and practice managers that was well evaluated and greatly appreciated. A total of 447 sessions were delivered, largely remotely, which was an outstanding feat.

The education team also developed robust and transparent criteria to determine if registrars' training time would be affected by the pandemic. It was pleasing to note that overall, very few registrars in early training time were adversely impacted by the pandemic compared to that initially predicted and compared to other specialties. There were some very unfortunate delays to, and some issues with training for our later term registrars with delays to and some issues with college assessments. GP Synergy worked with the colleges, registrars, participants, and practices to support them through this time. In addition to pastoral and educational support, we were able to offer a wellbeing support payment and an additional IT support payment to assist them.

The transition from face to face to remote Clinical Teaching Visits (CTVs) for registrars and Direct Observations (DOs) for PEP participants would have to be one of the key outstanding achievements of 2020. In the 2020-2021 year we delivered more than 2,000 remote CTVs and DOs, an incredible feat. This change really required every facet of the GP Synergy team to work together to engineer and execute this on such a grand scale, a commendable result for the team. In addition to this, our Research and Evaluation Unit was simultaneously conducting a study on CTVs and the early results show that registrars' perceived utility of remote CTVs is the same as face-to-face CTVs, this is highly encouraging both for now and the future.

Speaking of innovations such as the remote CTVs, the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to a number of additional innovations in the education and training space – check these out along with many others in the COVID-19 section of this report.

This 2020-2021 year provided an opportunity for the development of leadership skills in our leadership team, as well as medical education skills for our medical education team. We were fortunate to have 70 medical educators attend a face-to-face upskilling event in early June 2021, which was both educational and energising. It was an excellent reminder that we all have a common goal of educating and training the future leaders of general practice and those that support that future workforce to support healthier communities.

September 2020 marked GP Synergy’s commitment to wellbeing for doctors in training by signing up to the “Every Doctor, Every Setting: A national framework to guide coordinated action on the mental health of doctors and medical students”. The GP Synergy Wellbeing Committee was established in early 2021 with representation from GPs in training, GP supervisors, and GP Synergy staff. This committee has been working towards an action plan to meet the targets of the five pillars of the framework. A significant amount of work is underway, and we will be providing a yearly report on the committee’s progress, so please keep an eye out for that.

I would particularly like to extend my best wishes to those of you that have been impacted personally and/or professionally by the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to thank everyone involved in general practice training for their expertise, passion, and commitment.

COVID-19

Our response

To minimise disruption to AGPT registrars' and PEP participants’ training, we have taken a proactive and agile response to the ever-changing COVID-19 environment. Some of our innovations over the past 12 months are outlined below.

1600 hours education converted online

Our eight local education and event coordination teams converted their registrar and supervisor education to online delivery.

New telehealth resources

New resources including supervision guidelines and plans were developed to support supervisors and registrars.

Zoom capabilities extended

Our existing zoom infrastructure was ramped up to support increased requirements across the organisation including integration with GPRime.

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Respiratory clinic training opportunities

We worked with local stakeholders to enable registrars to participate in respiratory clinics and hospital's surge planning as part of their training.

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Remote connectivity platforms added

A remote telephony system was introduced to ensure uninterrupted contact with stakeholders, in addition to Microsoft Teams launched for internal staff connectivity.

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Registrar wellbeing support payment

$200 was available to assist registrars support their personal wellbeing, with more than 1300 claims processed by our finance team.

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GPRime upgrades

Our training system was updated to enable easier access for users to new online forms and additions such as Telehealth consults to practice logs.

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New mandatory term alternatives

A new model was developed for RACGP registrars to meet surgery and general medicine mandatory terms impacted by COVID-19.

2,143 CTVs delivered remotely

Face-to-face direct observations for AGPT registrars and PEP participants were delivered via a new remote format.

Training time facilitation

Our education and administrative teams streamlined processes for GP registrars whose training time was impacted by COVID-19.

Border bubble support

Doctors caught in the border bubble were supported with pastoral care, extra education and other support by our teams.

ReCEnT moved online

The flagship ReCEnT research project was rolled out online.

Additional supervision payment

Supervisors received an additional three-hour teaching payment for each GP registrar trained in 2020.

~500 selection interviews moved online

Over 12 days, just under 500 AGPT applications were interviewed in a new online format, previously F2F.

New JMO online education

A new JMO webinar education series was rolled out in addition to conversion of JMO teaching online.

Support for GP Synergy team members

Team member wellbeing during new remote working arrangements was supported with remote team building activities and wellbeing initiatives.

Contribution

GP registrars play a vital role in the provision of primary healthcare across NSW and ACT.

3.48 million consultations

In 2020-2021, GP registrars performed more than 3.48 million consultations across NSW and the ACT.

74% of GP registrar consultations were undertaken in areas of need.

Data collected via the flagship ReCEnT project, shows the presentations most commonly seen by registrars.

  1. Upper respiratory tract infection
  2. Hypertension
  3. Influenza immunisation
  4. Depression
  5. Anxiety
  6. Immunisation
  7. Urinary tract infection
  8. Gynaecological check-up
  9. Asthma
  10. Renew medication

"I'm intrigued by the wide spread of clinical presentations in general practice and seeing things in rural medicine that might otherwise present earlier or to the hospitals in urban areas. I'd also like to develop further skills in an area of interest such as women's health, to be able to provide a valuable service to give back to my community."

Dr Madeline Wilson

Rural pathway | Western NSW
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Distribution

Our registrars train across NSW and ACT to service communities in need.

Our registrars train in communities located across NSW and ACT

As shown in the 2021.1 map opposite, our robust GP term placement process ensures communities across NSW and ACT benefit from the registrar workforce, at the same time providing registrars and training facilities with flexibility and choice.

GP registrars make up a significant part of the GP workforce within each subregion.

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Western NSW
GP registrars

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Murrrumbidgee/ACT GP registrars

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New England/Northwest GP registrars

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Hunter, Manning & Central Coast
GP registrars

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North Coast
GP registrars

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Nepean, West & Nth Syd
GP registrars

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Sth Eastern NSW GP registrars

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Central & Sth West Syd
GP registrars

There are more registrars per head of population in rural areas than urban areas within GP Synergy’s footprint.

1:2,488

New England/Northwest

1:3,398

North Coast

1:3,580

Western NSW

1:4,001

South Eastern NSW

1:5,592

Murrumbidgee & ACT

1:6,312

Hunter, Manning and Central Coast

1:8,000

Nepean, Western & Northern Sydney

1:10,455

Central, Eastern & South Western Sydney
Rural
GP registrar to population ratio
Metropolitan

Rural registrar supports and subsidies

All GP Synergy registrars can undertake rural GP training, with a number of supports in place to help them during their rural GP training experience.

This includes a dedicated rural support team that provides practical relocation advice and assistance as well as pastoral care.

Registrars are also provided with financial supports ranging from $1,900-$9,500 per six-month FTE term. Subsidies for emergency skills training (up to $3,000) are also available, as are education subsidies up to $8,000 for rural generalist registrars.

Composite pathway

Following the successful introduction of the composite pathway in the 2020 AGPT intake, a further 70 Sydney general pathway and 7 Hunter, Manning and Central Coast composite pathway positions were offered and accepted in the 2021 intake. This takes the total number of composite pathway registrars to 142.

Under the composite pathway, general pathway registrars complete a minimum six months of their GP term training in a rural area of Western NSW, Murrumbidgee or New England/Northwest subregions.

As of 30 June 2021, 57 composite pathway registrars have or are currently undertaking a rural rotation, with 14 registrars extending their rotation to stay rural for more than one term (such as Dr Sara Berry pictured).

"I'm glad I've chosen to train on this program. It's allowed me to work in areas with different needs and challenges compared to urban areas. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it!”

Dr Huan Doan

Composite pathway registrar who extended his rural rotation in Narrabri, New England/Northwest NSW
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Education

All communities, regardless of their location, deserve highly trained, confident and competent GPs.

Since 2012, GP Synergy has successfully trained 2,358 doctors to reach fellowship.

2012-13

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2013-14

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2014-15

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2015-16

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2016-17

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2017-18

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2018-19

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2019-20

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2020-21

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* Year-on-year cumulative number of registrars

Our education program

Despite this year's many challenges, our medical education team's commitment to delivery of high-quality education has not wavered.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on GP registrars, supervisors, and practice staff.  Throughout this challenging time, the value of having a dedicated medical educator for each of our registrars has been profound. Together with their regional medical education and administrative colleagues, they have been able to provide pastoral care, tailored education support, and individualised support to help registrars progress through training during these unprecedented times. 

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020-2021, the GP Synergy medical education teams have continued to deliver a robust and highly evaluated registrar education program. During 2020-2021, just over 2,150 hours of registrar education (350 discrete education activities) were delivered in largely virtual environments due to COVID-19. The design and delivery of local education remains the responsibility of each subregion’s regional head of education and medical education team. They ensure the regional program is aligned to college curriculums and national health priority areas as well as tailored to meet local community healthcare needs.

During the 2020-2021 period, 2,143 CTVs have been completed, 1,924 remotely and 219 face-to-face. CTVs have been anecdotally viewed as highly valuable educational experience for registrars. A recent collaborative Education Research Grant (ERG) study between GP Synergy, General Practice Training Tasmania and Northern Territory General Practice Training, tested this assumption, examining the content and perceived utility of Clinical Teaching Visits (CTVs). The study involving 741 registrars and 696 CT visitors confirmed CTVs have high education utility and there was no difference in the efficacy of face to face or virtual CTVs.

Following a successful pilot launch in Western NSW in 2020.2, in line with the third edition of the RACGP Standards for GP Training and as part of GP Synergy’s programmatic approach to assessment, in April this year we launched a new Multisource Feedback (MSF) in-practice assessment for RACGP registrars in their first GP training term.

The assessment provides important patient and practice staff feedback which is beneficial for registrars to receive early in their training and is comparable to the existing ACRRM MSF requirement.

In acknowledgment of the severe weather events affecting large parts of NSW in March 2021 and the initial roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, we supported practices that were unable to accommodate the assessment to defer participation to later in the year. 218 practices and 255 registrars participated in the 2021.1 MSF assessment, with a completion rate of 74% for patient feedback and 63% for practice staff feedback.

The MSF provided valuable feedback to the registrar, supervisor and medical educator that isn’t otherwise captured in traditional assessments. It will continue to be implemented in the 2021.2 term with an opt-out option for practices in 2021.2 to acknowledge the significant stress on practices and supervisors due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination delivery.

Over the past 12 months, there have been several significant disruptions and changes to fellowship assessments, requiring a high level of agility and resilience by registrars, supervisors, and medical educators. To maximise support for registrars, the medical education exam working group rapidly adapted the GP Synergy exam preparation program structure and delivery in response.

In addition, changes were made to placement training caps to enable registrars affected by the delayed RACGP Remote Clinical Exam (RCE) to remain in their same practice, supernumerary to training caps.

GP Synergy also hosted and supervised AKT & KFP exams across our regional offices, with a number of team members helping facilitate RCE remote exam delivery.

Our registrars perform better than the national average in RACGP exams

In 2020-2021, GP Synergy had a 10% higher pass rate than the national average for all RACGP exam components, with 89% of GP Synergy registrars passing on their first attempt.

Supporting our registrars

Registrar feedback and engagement remain key pillars in our delivery of the AGPT and PEP programs

In October 2020, GP Synergy formalised our commitment to doctor wellbeing, signing up to the ‘Every Doctor, Every Setting’ National Framework, committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students. Since our pledge, we have established a wellbeing committee of GP registrars, supervisors and GP Synergy staff to review the framework and identify key areas GP Synergy can influence improved wellbeing for GPs in training. This committee is developing an action plan for GP Synergy to work towards. this plan and our actions will be reported to our stakeholders yearly, on the anniversary of our commitment.

Registrar feedback and input into the design and delivery of the AGPT program across NSW and ACT is highly valued and encouraged across the organisation. This includes registrar participation in the Committee Overseeing Registrar Education, which monitors and reviews the formal registrar educational program, ensuring it meets the RACGP and ACRRM vocational training and educational standards. It also provides advice regarding innovation, regional flexibility, consistency, and quality assurance.

Registrar Medical Educators (RegMEs) remain an important way to nurture registrar interest in medical education, with a number of RegMEs continuing on in medical educator roles with GP Synergy post-fellowship . Currently, three RegMEs are working with GP Synergy medical education teams in Ballina, Liverpool and Newcastle. 

Each of GP Synergy’s eight subregions also continues to have a dedicated Registrar Liaison Officer position. These registrars play an important role in communicating and advocating registrars' concerns, suggestions or queries. In 2020-2021, the RLOs met quarterly with the GP Synergy Chief Operations Officer and Director of Education and Training, with more regular, direct communication whenever required.

During 2020-2021, we were proud to train 47 Australian Defence Force (ADF) registrars. A dedicated team of medical educators and administrative team members provided individualised support to these registrars assisting them to meet the requirements of the AGPT program and their military obligations.   

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Registrar satisfaction

83% of registrars are satisfied with GP Synergy

In the 2021.2 feedback survey undertaken in April this year, feedback was collected from 1,534 of a possible 1,605 registrars (96%). Key findings included:

  • Overall satisfaction with GP Synergy amongst registrar respondents remains high at 83%, in line with 84% the previous term.
  • Feedback about GP Synergy's education program has remained high despite program delivery remaining online for the latter half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, with 81% satisfied or highly satisfied.
  • 91% of respondents were satisfied or highly satisfied with their in-practice experience in the 2021.1 survey, an increase from 89% on the previous term. 
  • The 2021.1 survey showed registrars' interactions with GP Synergy team members remain positive, with increases in most key areas. Registrars overwhelmingly felt that GP Synergy team members are always willing to help, are confident the information they provide is accurate, help them feel supported, are prompt to respond, and have the registrar's best interests at heart.
  • The majority of registrars are satisfied with GP Synergy's term placement process with 80% satisfied or highly satisfied, in line with 82% the previous term.

In 2020, we were delighted to congratulate the following RACGP award winners:

  • General Practitioner in Training of the Year – GP Synergy Registrar, Dr Josie Guyer
  • Rural GP in Training of the Year - GP Synergy Registrar, Dr Emma Thompson
  • Growing Stronger Together Award – GP Synergy Registrar, Dr Justin Hunter
  • General Practitioner of the Year – GP Synergy Supervisor, Dr Duncan McKinnon
  • Corlis Award - GP Synergy Deputy Director of Education and Training, Dr Anne Eastwood.We were also delighted that GP Synergy’s Rural Programs Manager, Felicity Gemmell-Smith’s dedication to rural primary care was recognised by ACRRM who awarded Felicity the Honorary Membership Award
  • NSW&ACT GP Supervisor of the Year – GP Synergy Supervisor, Dr Aniello Iannuzzi.

Practice Experience Program (PEP) continues to grow

2021 marks the third year of the RACGP Practice Experience Program (PEP) delivered by GP Synergy. Our PEP team currently supports 206 participants, including 187 doctors from NSW and 19 from WA.

The program continues to be highly rated, with 88% of PEP participants describing their experience of receiving mentoring as very useful or useful and 90% rating the educational activities as useful in meeting their learning needs of developing a clear framework for approaching the KFP and in demonstrating clinical reasoning. Similar to the AGPT program, throughout 2020-2021 the PEP team has been required to be agile and adapt to virtual education and assessments, which whilst initially challenging, has proven beneficial in some settings.

Proactively nurturing interest in general practice

With declining numbers of Australian medical graduates interested in pursuing a career in general practice, GP Synergy takes a proactive approach to showcasing the benefits of the general practice speciality, particularly in a rural setting. Examples of activity include in-hospital and elective education for prevocational doctors led by our Head of Prevocational Education, one-on-one career counselling sessions, career events, AGPT promotional activity as well as ongoing lead nurturing through our customer relationship management platform.

One of our initiatives is the GP Synergy rural GP video competition. Due to a change in timing, within the financial year two competitions were held with Cooma GP Supervisor, Dr Hamish Steiner and his colleagues taking out first prize in 2020, and Coffs Harbour GP Supervisor, Dr Shahab Shirazi the recent 2021 winner.

“I’ve had a great experience with GP Synergy. As a regional training organisation they have been wonderfully supportive. I have been part of a range of initiatives such as the wellbeing initiative, I’ve been supported by my medical educator, and I have found the education delivered has been very helpful for my training pathway.”

Dr Isabel Hanson

GP registrar | Central, Eastern and South Western Sydney
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Supervision

Supporting the dedicated supervisors and training facilities who form the backbone of GP training is essential for high quality training outcomes.

We partner with 1,980 accredited supervisors and 1,236 accredited training facilities across NSW and ACT in the delivery of high-quality GP training.

Central, Eastern and South Western Sydney 271 459
Hunter, Manning and Central Coast 174 275
Murrumbidgee and ACT 131 198
Nepean, Western and Northern Sydney 234 360
New England/Northwest 44 69
North Coast 156 246
South Eastern NSW 144 250
Western NSW 82 123

Supporting our supervisors

It's been a tough year for all GPs, in particular GP supervisors who have the added responsibility of managing the clinical safety and wellbeing of registrars under their supervision.

To support supervisors during these difficult times, we have taken a flexible approach to ways continuing professional development requirements can be met (such as through alternate organisations such as GP Supervisors Australia educational activities). We have also offered subsidised counselling, professional coaching and financial counselling sessions in addition to an automatic, one-off additional three-hour teaching payment to supervisors with registrars in the 2020.2 term in recognition of additional teaching time associated with supporting registrars in the changing COVID-19 environment.

To provide supervisors with readily accessible and local support, each supervisor continues to have access to a regional support team. Consisting of a Medical Educator with a Supervisor Portfolio (MESP), Practice Liaison and Support Officer (PLSO), and a Supervisor Liaison Officer (SLO), between them this team provides administrative, educational, and advocacy assistance.

In addition to providing individualised educational support and mentoring to supervisors, the MESP team design and contribute to the delivery of the supervisor EdCPD program, meeting regularly to review the content and delivery of the program. Over the past twelve months, the MESP team has focused on sharing the wisdom of supervisors through initiatives such as the ‘tips and tricks’ video submissions forming part of the core topic workshop.

During 2020-2021, GP Synergy delivered more than 240 hours of continuing professional development to supervisors across our eight subregions. This included 50 regional workshops and 42 all-region workshops. Due to COVID-19, many of these workshops were held online.

In addition to the MESP team, the program is developed following input from the Committee Overseeing Supervisor Education, whose membership includes non-GP Synergy employee supervisor representatives. COSE provides important advice and guidance on the development and implementation of supervisor education, including local needs integration, innovation, consistency, and quality assurance.

Supervisor satisfaction

Overall supervisor satisfaction with GP Synergy increased for the fifth consecutive year to 82%.

More than 430 supervisors from across our eight subregions participated in the annual supervisor feedback survey in 2020. Key findings included:

  • Supervisor and practice manager satisfaction with GP Synergy remains high, with the results of our 2020 feedback surveys showing 84% of supervisors and 91% of practice managers satisfied or highly satisfied with GP Synergy.
  • 82% of supervisor respondents felt supported in their role as a supervisor with GP Synergy, with 12% feeling neither supported or unsupported and 6% feeling unsupported.
  • The majority of supervisor respondents (84%) are still likely to continue as a supervisor in the next 12 months. Retirement was cited as the most common reason for not continuing to supervise.

GP Synergy continues to implement its Practice and Supervisor Quality Framework to ensure that GP registrars are provided with training environments that are focused on holistic care and emulate the behaviours and attributes that are markers of the ‘good doctor’.

Since its implementation in February 2019, 65% of practices have been assessed under the framework. As expected, most practices and supervisors are meeting the quality framework, demonstrating evidence of quality patient care, a culture of teaching and learning, and quality training outcomes. Where it is found that not all requirements of the quality framework have been met, and where appropriate, our first response has been to support the practices and/or supervisors to improve performance by providing both direction and access to relevant references and resources.

The implementation of the framework continues to be well received and accepted as an informed and structured approach to assessing areas for ongoing quality improvement and identifying supervisors who require additional support, to ensure the provision of excellent training experiences for registrars.

Each GP Synergy accredited training facility has been sent a copy of the GP Synergy clinical reasoning game which can be used for fun and interactive learning to help registrars develop their clinical reasoning skills. The brainchild of several North Coast medical educators (Drs Susan Tyler-Freer, Veronica Rogers, Claudia Long) and supervisor, Dr Christine Ahern, the game teaches GP registrars clinical reasoning skills in an engaging, challenging, and interactive way that can appeal to registrars’ (and perhaps supervisors') competitive spirit.

“The desire to help other aspiring doctors experience and enjoy a rewarding career in general practice motivated me to be a GP supervisor. I enjoy seeing GP registrars evolve in their training and grow in confidence to become qualified fellows.”

Dr Funmi Komolafe

GP Supervisor | Western NSW
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Rural Generalist

We are dedicated to nurturing and supporting our rural generalist trainees who play a vital role in small rural communities.

Since 2016, we have trained 98 rural generalist trainees to fellowship. 175 are currently in training, 63 in specialised posts across 11 disciplines.

Rural generalists play a unique role in small rural communities. To support registrars training to become rural generalists, we take a proactive case management approach, overseen by our rural programs manager. Together with regional medical education teams, we work closely with each rural generalist registrar to help them build important networks to tailor their training pathway.

To support the education of these doctors, we have continued to provide up to $8,000 for curriculum-related course fees to rural generalist/ procedural skills registrars in any ARST/AST discipline, in addition to other rural registrar supports and subsidies.

We have 141 accredited ARST/AST skills posts across NSW and ACT.

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“I really loved emergency medicine as a JMO and enjoyed training as an ED registrar for 3 years but missed the continuity of care that comes with general practice. I knew when I started the rural generalist program I had found the perfect mix for me. There is a long wait list to see a paediatrician so with the additional paediatric training I feel I could really help the community."

Dr Vanessa Hewitt

GP registrar training towards advanced skills in paediatrics | North Coast
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Research

Our dedicated Research and Evaluation Unit is an established contributor to Australian and international educational research.

Our flagship ReCEnT project is the largest ongoing GP registrar research project.

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consultations analysed in ReCEnT research project

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GP registrar ReCEnT participants

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of 2020-2021 ReCEnT participants are GP Synergy registrars

ReCEnT project grows and answers relevant research questions

We remain proud to hold the contract for the flagship Registrar Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) research project – a collaborative project with Eastern Victoria GP Training and General Practice Training Tasmania. Since its inception, more than 3,800 registrars have participated and over 555,000 consultations have been collected and analysed. In 2020-2021, 857 GP Synergy registrars participated in ReCEnT, equating to 78% of all participants.

We regularly include additional educational research questions in our data collection. In 2020-2021 in response to the impact of COVID-19 on general practice, questions related to registrars’ confidence in using telehealth were added to the questionnaire items.

Key research projects in 2020-2021

During 2020-2021, in addition to ReCEnT, our team worked on 10 key projects including:

More than 330 registrars, medical educators and supervisors participated in this project that found ReCEnT Feedback Reports are a useful tool to facilitate registrar reflection on their practice and identification of learning needs.

This project used data collected from more than 1400 registrars and clinical teaching visitors and found the content and perceived educational value of both face-to-face CTVs and remote CTVs very useful in the context of GP training.

More than 350 former registrars participated in this study that found that new fellows in regional and rural areas become GP supervisors early in their careers at a higher rate than their city contemporaries.

Participants of the Diploma of Practice Management for Aboriginal Medical Services were overwhelmingly positive about the impact of completing the diploma on their professional and personal development.

Evaluation highlights

During 2020-2021, our evaluations team undertook 118 evaluations, providing responsive feedback to help educators adapt educational delivery during COVID-19.

As part of our quality assurance process and philosophy as a learning organisation, we routinely evaluate our educational activities. Our evaluation approach supports an ongoing feedback loop and the iterative model of continual improvement.

In 2020-2021 we conducted 118 evaluations, bringing our total number of evaluations since 2017 to more than 780. In 2020-21, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that the evaluation team had to remain flexible and responsive due to further changes in the delivery of the education program. The evaluation process was also reviewed with the medical education team finding individual event evaluations most useful, the team has adapted their approach moving forward.

Key evaluation projects included an evaluation of Hospital Alternate Pathway for Pre-GP Years (HAPPY) and NSW and ACT Pre-general practice Paediatric Essentials (NAPPE), and follow up evaluation of attendees of Clinical Teacher Training workshops.

Our research achievements

The GP Synergy Research and Evaluation Unit continue to be leaders in the dissemination of evidence-based GP training research.

Fourteen papers were published in national and international peer-reviewed journals, including International Journal of Clinical Practice, BMJ Open, British Journal of General Practice, Australian Journal Rural Health and Australian Journal of General Practice.

During the period, 27 papers were presented at national and international conferences to help disseminate research findings. Conferences included 26th WONCA Europe Conference, Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care, National Medicines Symposium and GP21. A further 18 presentations were accepted but not delivered due to the cancelation of conferences due to COVID-19. Research findings have also been incorporated into the GP Synergy education program.

GP Synergy has a strong history of securing education research grants to develop evidence-based education initiatives that increase training capacity and improve educational outcomes. 

2021 RACGP Education Research Grant funded projects:

  • QUIT-CA Index (QUestionable In Training Clinical Activities) study.
  • Exploring the clinical experience of Practice Experience Program participants via an established patient encounter tracking and learning tool.

GP Synergy registrars gain academic posts

In 2021 GP Synergy registrars were successful in gaining eight of the 21 available RACGP academic posts. The academic posts are being undertaken in conjunction with Australian National University (1), Western Sydney University (3), University of Newcastle (1), University of Notre Dame (1), University of Sydney (1) and University of Wollongong (1).

  • Uptake of advanced care planning in Western Sydney among the Vietnamese speaking community.
  • The prevalence and associations of telehealth consultations and other aspects of GP registrars' billing practice: a cross-sectional study nested within the ReCEnT study.
  • The impact of rurality on the Primary Care Interval for (the pathway to treatment of) breast cancer.
  • Social prescribing in general practice: a qualitative analysis of GP knowledge and behaviours in the Sydney LHD.
  • Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of asthma in general practice from the perspective of the GP.
  • Increasing willingness to engage in prevention and screening for cervical cancer in women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in Western Sydney.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on GPs: a qualitative study.
  • What is high quality paediatric care in general practice and how is this achieved? Perspectives of parents, paediatricians and GPs.
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Dr Katie Fisher

2021 RACGP academic registrar – University of Newcastle

"The prevalence and associations of telehealth consultations and other aspects of GP registrars' billing practice: a cross-sectional study nested within the ReCEnT study."

Motivated by the increasing use of telehealth and the likelihood it will become a permanent part of the healthcare system, Katie aims to improve understanding of registrars' telehealth use, which will assist teaching practices and RTOs in informing training and educational practice. Katie is the 2021 recipient of the RACGP Foundation Charles Bridges-Webb Memorial Award, the award recognises quality and significance of research. She has presented her preliminary findings at the 2021 Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) Annual Conference in a poster format.

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Dr Sylvia Lim

2020 ACRRM academic registrar – University of Notre Dame, Wagga Wagga

"How rural general practitioners can be advocates for change."

Sylvia was attracted to an academic post as it offered the scope to explore areas of rural medicine of personal interest and importance, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the evidence base of those areas. Her research examined the contribution rural doctors make outside of the clinic environment to build healthy and sustainable communities. Sylvia’s research is being presented at RMA21 and the 8th Rural and Remote Heath Scientific Symposium. A manuscript of the research findings is currently being prepared for submission to the Medical Journal of Australia.

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Jasmine De Giovanni

2017 scholarship recipient

Jasmine has had her research published in Menopause (the Journal of the North American Menopause Society) and her findings have been presented at RACGP GP20, Society for Academic Primary Care Annual Conference 2020 and 26th WONCA Europe Conference 2021.

“This scholarship allowed me to meet and work with so many great people and find some amazing mentors. I learnt so many skills that I will carry throughout my professional career and have had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

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Jocelyn Ledger

2019 scholarship recipient

Jocelyn also presented her research project at 26th WONCA Europe Conference 2021 as well as GPTEC 2019 and her journal manuscript reporting the findings is currently under review.

“If there was one opportunity to take as a medical student, I would strongly recommend participating in the GP Synergy Medical Student Scholarship. It has provided me with so many new skills and opportunities that I couldn’t have even imagined when I started.”

Collaborative GP Synergy Medical Student Academic Scholarship continues

Now in its ninth year, the GP Synergy Medical Student Academic Scholarship program has been highly successful in increasing both awareness and interest in academic general practice, and interest in general practice as a career.

Ninety-two students have progressed through the scholarship since its inception, with an additional seven commencing the scholarship in 2021. Research projects undertaken by students have ranged from new to existing projects undertaken in collaboration with their university.

Former scholarship recipients who undertook ReCEnT related projects continue to benefit from the program.

Aboriginal health

We are committed to improving the health of Aboriginal communities.

We are proud to partner with 34 Aboriginal health training facilities offering GP training at 62 sites across NSW and ACT.

Our valued engagement with the sector

We work closely with our ACCHS partners to inform the delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health GP training.

Dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Education Unit

As part of our enduring commitment to improving Aboriginal health, in 2016 GP Synergy established the GP Synergy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Education Unit (ACEU). The unit currently has six members, who each identify as Aboriginal. Guided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee, the ACEU is responsible for developing and implementing the GP Synergy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Strategic Plan. Key highlights of 2020-2021 include:

  • online delivery of the annual Cultural Mentor Network meeting
  • online delivery of the annual NSW and ACT Practice Managers Network meeting
  • more than 90% compliance rate for Cultural Mentor Agreements submitted for registrars training in an Aboriginal health training facility
  • participation in a research project for the Diploma of Practice Management for Aboriginal Medical Services.

In 2020, GP Synergy convened the inaugural NSW and ACT ACCHS Practice Manager Network conference hosted through Zoom videoconference. This event saw around 40 practice management staff engage online with networking and professional development opportunities.

GP Synergy works closely with an advisory group of practice managers, who inform GP Synergy’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee on strategies to design, develop and implement the priority areas aligned to the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Health Strategic Plan.

The group also provides advice to improve recruitment and retention of GP registrars and GP supervisors; educational support needs of the ACCHS sector of NSW and ACT and GP registrars; and act as a peer support network for capacity building within the membership of the group.

GP Synergy continues to work closely with an advisory group of cultural mentors, who provide cultural advice to GP Synergy on cultural mentoring initiatives and resource development. The group are an important link between GP Synergy and the ACCHS sector.

Each GP Synergy accredited Aboriginal health training post has a cultural mentor. With the support of cultural mentors and GP Synergy’s ACEU the level of engagement and participation continues to increase.  The framework includes a formal agreement between the registrar and their mentor for the duration of their ACCHS training placement.

In October 2020, GP Synergy hosted the third annual Cultural Mentor Network event online and continued to build the toolkit of cultural mentors who provide cultural education to GP Synergy registrars. There were over 20 participants and Keynote speakers included Dr Clinton Shultz and CEO Donna Murray from Indigenous Allied Health Australia, who presented on cultural mentoring and self-care. Ms Georgina O’Neil and Uncle Mick Roberts also shared their experience as cultural mentors at Riverina Medical & Dental Aboriginal Medical Service (Wagga Wagga) and Rekindling the Spirit services (Lismore). Group discussion focused on the social, emotional and wellbeing models of care and the challenges of providing mentoring services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during future COVID-19 outbreaks in regional and remote Aboriginal communities.

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Collaboration and communication through our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee

CEOs and management from ACCHSs across NSW and ACT form the membership of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee, a sub-committee of the GP Synergy Board. The committee plays a leading role in developing and monitoring progress of GP Synergy’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Strategic Plan, implemented by the GP Synergy ACEU. In addition to helping provide strategic direction, the committee meetings also form an important platform for sharing information, problem-solving and innovation in the sector.

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Registrars have undertaken an Aboriginal health training placement since 2016.
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Consultations have been undertaken by registrars in Aboriginal health placements since 2016.

Aboriginal health registrar training

Aboriginal health is a key part of a GP Synergy registrar's training

Since 2016, more than 300 registrars have undertaken a placement in an accredited Aboriginal training facility, with 76% undertaking this training in rural MMM3-7 areas. During this time, more than 459,000 consultations have been undertaken by GP registrars, 365,000 of these in rural MMM3-7 locations. On average, a full-time GP registrar training in an Aboriginal health trainign post undertakes 2,831 consultations per year. In the 2021.1 term, 65 registrars were training in an Aboriginal health training facility, compared to 47 in 2016.1.

All GP Synergy registrars receive a minimum of eight hours of Aboriginal health education. These sessions are designed and developed collaboratively with the ACEU and medical education teams. During 2020-2021, education sessions were delivered in an online format to registrars across each of our eight subregions.

All registrars also have access to a GP Synergy regional cultural educator for support and advice. Additional education and support is also provided to registrars training in Aboriginal health facilities.

We are pleased to be training 38 doctors who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. These registrars are supported through a formal support framework developed by the ACEU team, that includes networking dinners, Indigenous General Practice Registrar Network (IGPRN) events and dedicated medical educator support.

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Walk together, learn together, heal together

In June 2021, we were delighted to launch our Stretch RAP.

Our Stretch RAP represents an important progression from the Innovate RAP which we launched in 2017. In our first RAP, we outlined our commitment to reconcile with the past, our ‘bridge’ to open opportunities for spiritual, physical, and psychological healing.

Our new 2021-2024 Stretch RAP demonstrates our commitment to taking the next steps towards embedding reconciliation into our everyday business processes, presenting longer-term strategies that support GP Synergy’s vision to work in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community towards reconciliation.

“As a proud Indigenous man, it was important that I give back to my community. I have always wanted to do this. However, it wasn’t until I was treating a young Indigenous man in the prison system that I truly understood the importance. When talking to him and telling him I was also Indigenous, he looked at me questioningly and said, “I never knew people like you existed, that Aboriginal doctors existed”. It was then that I knew I was needed in community health care."

Dr Justin Hunter

GP registrar | Central, Eastern and South Western Sydney
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Partnerships

We believe developing strong, open and collaborative partnerships are integral to successful primary healthcare delivery.

Our valued partners

We highly value our partners and recognise the importance of working together to create positive health outcomes for our urban, regional and rural communitites.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs)

We effectively engage and collaborate with the sector to create high quality training opportunities for GP registrars and improved service provision in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Universities

We have strong ties, working together to promote GP as a rewarding career path and foster interest in academic general practice.

Department of Health

We strive to meet and exceed where appropriate, the targets and obligations in our contract with the Department of Health.

Colleges of general practice

We work closely with ACRRM and RACGP to deliver a high-quality training program aligned with their standards and curriculums.

Workplace agencies

We consult and work with our state and territory workforce agencies to acquire and share information about local community needs.

Advocacy and industry groups

We work together with industry and advocacy groups such as General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), GP Supervisors Australia (GPSA), Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC), Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA), Australian Medical Association (AMA) and others to better understand the needs of our trainees, supervisors and training facilities.

Health Education Training Institute (HETI) and ACT Health

We collaborate in the promotion, support and development of rural generalist trainees and expansion of accredited training posts.

Royal Flying Doctors Service

We come together to create training opportunities for GP registrars to help service remote communities.

Local Health Districts (LHDs)

We consult and collaborate with LHDs in different ways across our footprint according to local need as well as the promotion of general practice to hospital-based doctors.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs)

We engage with the eleven PHNs in our footprint to support the GP career pipeline and understand local population needs.

Regional training organisations (RTOs)

We share ideas and insights to improve delivery of our training programs and support improvement for the industry.

Listening to learn

Over the 2020-2021 period, we have taken deliberate steps to better understand our partners and how we can work together.

To increase our understanding of the expectations and opportunities for collaboration with the many organisations and individuals we work with closely, in 2020 we undertook an extensive stakeholder engagement project. Led by an external consultant, the project included both qualitative and quantitative feedback collection methods in which more than 100 external stakeholder organisations were invited to take part.

A key outcome of the project was development of our Stakeholder Statement of Intent which articulates how we will continue to collaborate with our valued stakeholders to achieve improved outcomes in GP training.  At all levels of GP Synergy, we will listen to learn and engage in dialogue that is transparent, honest, respectful and explores alternatives and possibilities. We will work with interested stakeholders to identify opportunities to jointly invest in productive relationships and work on shared priorities that ultimately produce better health outcomes for NSW and ACT local communities.

Stemming from feedback collected in the stakeholder engagement project and other platforms, we have restructured our regional advisory councils to increase local team empowerment and relationship building. This has enabled our regional heads of education to develop engagement structures that are best suited to their region. Since this change, we have seen increased regional activity and engagement between our regional medical education teams and local stakeholders. To support this local engagement, we have also hosted bi-annual NSW and ACT training forums, in which national, state and local stakeholders can come together to collaborate and share information to enhance primary healthcare provision in NSW and ACT. 

Case study

Local engagement leads to changes in registrar distribution

In 2021, discussions between a regional medical education team and local stakeholders including the PHN, LHD and local practices led to changes in the distribution of GP registrars training in practices located in MMM4-7. This included allowing procedural/Rural Generalist GP registrars with skills in O&G, anaesthetics and surgery training in MMM4-7 locations to be supernumerary above supervisor and practice caps, and half of the training hours for GP VMO registrars in MMM4-7 locations who regularly participate in the ED and/or inpatient VMO rosters to count towards practice caps.

These changes assisted to address areas of healthcare need within the rural and remote communities by recognising the significant role many GP registrars play in the provision of healthcare in these community and hospital settings.

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Working together

We collaborate with our partners in many ways to improve primary healthcare provision in our training footprints.

We have been delighted to partner with UNSW and the RACGP Rural Faculty in scoping the Avenues to Rural project. The project considers the development of a multi-pronged program to offer urban-dwelling GPs support, mentorship and re-skilling opportunities to aid them relocate to regional or rural Australia.  The Avenues to Rural project received positive feedback from GPTAC (the GP Training Advisory Committee) with a green light to progress to pilot stage.

We remain committed to engaging with stakeholders and sharing information in a variety of platforms including working groups, meetings and other activities. In 2020-2021, GP Synergy team members participated in the monthly Rural Medical Training Forum (RMTF), HETI Statewide Advisory Rural Generalist Panel, subregion succession planning working groups, regional training hub working groups, national ADF working group and local town medical workforce meetings, amongst others. Team members also continue to be part of the Regional Training Organisation Network (RTON), Leading Medical Educators Committee (LMEC) and the National RTO Marketing Subcommittee.

Now in its ninth year, we are delighted to continue to collaborate with eight NSW and ACT universities in the delivery of the GP Synergy Medical Student Academic Scholarship. As part of the scholarship, students participate in an academic general practice research project with their university. Students are also funded to undertake a GP placement, although this has been placed on hold for the current and previous cohort due to COVID-19.  The calibre of research projects students engage in is impressive, with 2017 scholarship recipient, Jasmine De Giovanni, recently presenting her research project findings at the 26th WONCA Europe Conference 2021.

GP Synergy is also continuing to pilot medical student participation at selected registrar education activities.

Led by our Head of Prevocational Education, we have worked with more than 21 hospitals in the delivery of more than 75 in-hospital junior doctor education sessions. This includes hospitals across our regions including Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Port Maquarie, Wollongong, Canberra, John Hunter and numerous Sydney hospitals, amongst others. We work closely with the hospital Director of Education and Training and JMO unit to deliver topics most relevant to their doctors.

In the 2020 and 2021, GP Synergy hosted the AKT and KFP RACGP examinations in our Armidale, Ballina, Canberra, Dubbo, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong offices attended by 495 RACGP exam candidates. On each occasion, approximately 35 staff were involved in ensuring the exams were delivered without incident. A number of GP Synergy events team members have also helped facilitate the RCE exam.

Our team

Our team members are our greatest asset.

Located across NSW and ACT, our eight regional teams provide local education and training that is responsive and tailored to local community needs.

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Team member satisfaction remains high

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Leadership

Experienced, dedicated and passionate

As a team, we are united by our passion to deliver high-quality GP training

In recognition of the challenges of COVID-19 and the impact on team members, last year we introduced a wellbeing framework to promote wellbeing and support team members. This has included responding to team member feedback and adapting our Flexible Working Arrangement Policy to enable team members to work from home up to 60% of their working hours.

Senior management has also worked closely with the GP Synergy Work, Health and Safety Committee to implement peer-led initiatives such as a reimbursement program for wellbeing activities/resources and a virtual activity program designed to foster connectivity across the organisation. 

Our leaders have been critical to our success and restoring stability as we transitioned between office and home-based work environments, with guidance and support provided to help them to lead remote teams and keep team members engaged, motivated and productive.

Earlier this year we introduced monthly virtual town-hall sessions whereby all team members can hear first-hand from GP Synergy’s CEO, Georgina van de Water and ask any questions. The sessions have been well-attended and provide an opportunity for the CEO to share transition to profession-led training updates as well as information about COVID-19 and other topical issues.

Over the 2020-2021 period, two all-of-team development days were held – one virtually and one face-to-face. The purpose of GP Synergy’s Team Development Day(s) (TDDs) is to provide an opportunity for all employees to undergo internal organisational learning and development that is aligned with our strategy, values, and vision. They are also important networking opportunities for team members to engage and share ideas with team members from different departments and regions. 

16 team members identify as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent

Six of these team members work within our Aboriginal Cultural Education Unit and 10 team members hold roles in other parts of the organisation. This includes two Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) trainees.

"GP Synergy has shown strong commitment to my role as Rural Programs Manager and my vision of providing strong individualised support to doctors in training and their supervisors in regional, rural and remote locations across NSW and ACT. To this end, GP Synergy has developed and implemented the GP Synergy Rural Plan 2020-2023. This plan encompasses clear statements regarding our purpose, principles, vision and priorities in relation to the delivery of medical education and support for our rural communities and those that provide medical services to them. Priorities in this plan include assisting rural generalist training with its unique requirements and support of the GP training pipeline in collaboration with external stakeholders. I enjoy working in an environment that supports rural training."

Felicity Gemmell-Smith

Rural Programs Manager
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Our board

Our board comprises of highly qualified professionals who share a passion for high-quality primary healthcare delivery.

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Dr Ian Kamerman
Chair
MBBS, ACCAM, FACRRM, FRACGP, DRANZCOG, DA, MAICD, AMA(M)
28 Oct 2011 - present
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Dr Michael Bonning
Deputy Chair
MBBS, B App Sci (Hons), FRACGP, MPH, DCH, GAICD
6 May 2014 - present
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Ms Megan Cahill
Director
BSc, MHA, Cert. Health Econ, FACHSM, GAICD
7 Oct 2020 - present
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Dr Brett Cowling
Director
GAICD, RN Midwife, MPH/MBA
18 Oct 2017 - 6 Oct 2020
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Dr Karen Flegg
Director
MBBS(Hons), FRACGP FACRRM, FAICD, MIPH, GrDipClinEpi
18 Oct 2017 - 6 Oct 2020
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A/Prof Lyn Fragar AO
Director
MBBS, DTM&H, MPH, Dip Ag Ec, Grad Dip Ornith, FAFPHM, MAICD
1 Jan 2009 - present
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Dr Elizabeth Marles
Director
B. Med (Hons), B.Sc(Hons), FRACGP, Dip Ed, FAICD
28 Oct 2016 - 9 Oct 2019
4 Nov 2019 - present
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Dr Elizabeth McEntyre
Director
BSW (Hons), MIndigHlth, GradCertITRP, PhD
7 Oct 2020 - present
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Dr Sandra Mendel
Director
BMed, DRANZCOG, FRACGP, FACRRM, M.Med.Ed
2 Nov 2018 - present
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C/Prof Diana O'Halloran
Director
MBBS, FRACGP, FAICD, MHPEd
7 Oct 2020 - present
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Mr Damon Rees
Director
BIT, EMBA, MAICD
25 Jun 2014 - present

Financial report

2020 - 2021