It will become easier for Australians to find a GP with further skills and knowledge in a specific area, such as dermatology or addiction, thanks to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners new Recognition of Extended Skills for Fellows of the college.
The RACGP’s Recognition of Extended Skills launched at the WONCA World Conference Sydney 2023, one of the largest global conferences for GPs, being hosted by the RACGP in Sydney, from 26 to 29 October 2023.
Recognition of Extended Skills is open to any GP Fellow of the RACGP with at least five years of experience in their specific interest, including additional training, skills and expertise. Five specific interest areas will be trialled initially including: dermatology, integrative medicine, mental health, addiction medicine and developmental disability.
RACGP Specific Interests Chair Dr Lara Roeske said it will make it easier for patients to find the right GP for them.
“This is aimed to make it easier for patients, as well as to give the GPs who’ve continued to develop their skills and knowledge in a specific area the recognition they deserve,” she said.
“Many people aren’t aware that GPs do ongoing training for their entire working life. And many GPs choose to develop skills and knowledge in response to their community’s needs, as well as their own areas of interest, such as mental health or developmental disability. These extended skills are invaluable to the community.
“Now the RACGP’s Recognition of Extended Skills will make it easier for patients to find the right GP for them, as they’ll be able to check the practice website for the RACGP Extended Skills sign. This will be a real gamechanger for people who are looking for a GP with further skills that matches their specific health issue.”
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said GPs with extended knowledge and skills should be supported to work to the top of their scope of practice.
“If we want to improve access to care for Australians and affordability, and make our health system more efficient, GPs need to be supported to work to the top of their scope,” she said.
“GPs are highly trained, and we could provide more services to Australian patients if we were allowed. For instance, GPs could play a larger role in ADHD diagnosis and treatment to improve affordability and access to care – and that’s just one example.
“The RACGP’s Recognition of Extended Skills will demonstrate the extra training and knowledge GPs gain throughout their careers, and these GPs should be empowered to work to the top of their scope, so they can do more for their patients, and for our communities.”
The WONCA 2023 conference theme is “Recovery, reconnection, and revival. A celebration of primary care.” This year’s conference includes more than 800 presentations and workshops from over 700 local and international presenters from around the world, and over 50 topic streams, including health reform, mental health, women’s health, climate change, rural practice, and more.
Spokespeople are available for interview.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.