Focus on WA’s future GP workforce

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) as the operator of Western Australia’s three Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will play a key role in the distribution of the GP trainee workforce after being awarded a grant through the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Program.

WAPHA will provide advice on the priority locations for GP training placements to meet current and future GP workforce needs, through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program GP Workforce Planning and Prioritisation grant.

This work will make a vital contribution to the future of GP training that will be delivered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) from February 2023.

WAPHA CEO Learne Durrington said WAPHA’s advice will inform the distribution of the GP trainee workforce across communities in Western Australia and support the transition to college-led GP training.

“Another benefit for GP trainees is the greater visibility of training opportunities, allowing them to attain the necessary skills to meet the community’s health needs.”

“There will be a flexibility in the distribution approach under the College-led model which will ensure registrars have a safe and positive experience during their placements,” Ms Durrington said.

WAPHA will use its well-established relationships with local general practices and stakeholders to map the existing and future general practitioner and trainee workforce in each GP catchment area.

Data will be collected on the current GP workforce, training practice accreditation, capacity, and any retirement and succession plans.

“Using this detailed intelligence will help to map areas of current high community need and predict future growth, which is critical if we are to support a responsive approach.”

The AGPT Program trains doctors in general practice who can then work as GPs anywhere in Australia. The three to four-year training program offers 1,500 training places each year under a competitive merit-based process.

The grant will enable an increase in WAPHA’s data analytics capacity to map community need against workforce and GP training requirements.

“WAPHA’s hard work to support WA’s primary care workforce and build trusted relationships across the entire health system since our inception in 2015 has set us up well to carry out this new function,” Ms Durrington said.

WAPHA has deeply embedded working relationships with general practice and has also conducted comprehensive Health Needs Assessments to determine the health and service needs of the population and health care system within its catchment region.