1,000 new GPs registrars start work in local communities

A record number of medical school graduates have this year begun their vocational training to become GPs under a $150 million Gillard Government program.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said 1,000 former students had taken up places in 2012 to work as GP registrars in hospitals and doctor surgeries in urban and rural areas across the country.

“GPs are the front line of our health system, providing professional medical care to millions of Australians every year,” said Ms Plibersek.

“To assist GPs get the training they need and to ensure local communities are served by as many doctors as possible, the Gillard Government is continuing to increase vocational training places.”

The GPs are being trained under the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, which has been greatly expanded as part of a government commitment to boost doctor numbers.

The number of registrar places were increased to 700 in 2010, 900 in 2011 and 1,000 this year. The number of training places will increase to 1,100 in 2013 and 1,200 in 2014.

“When Tony Abbott was health minister he capped the number of GP training places at just 600 a year which lead to a critical shortage of doctors.”

“The Labor government made a commitment to double the number of training places by 2014 and we are on track to meet that commitment.”

Ms Plibersek and Member for Chifley Ed Husic made the announcement at a medical practice in Blacktown in Western Sydney which has taken two new GP registrars as part of the 2012 intake.

Mr Husic said the GP training program was helping Western Sydney grow its medical workforce as well as meeting local demand for GP services.

“Because Western Sydney is a rapidly growing area, it is important the Government continue to provide the community with access to high quality medical care, when and where it is needed,” Mr Husic said.

“These new GPs, who are already highly experienced, having completed years of medical training and hospital work, will now provide services to the local community while they are completing their training.”

“The Gillard Government provided $20.6 million to build the UWS Blacktown/Mt Druitt Clinical School which is now training 150 medical students in our local hospitals.”

Under the AGPT program, GP registrars provide services to patients under the supervision of a senior doctor. The program is the main pathway for achieving GP qualifications in Australia.

Registrars must complete three years of full time training to qualify as a GP. AGPT is overseen by General Practice Education and Training Ltd which delivers the program through 17 regional training providers across Australia.

The 2012 intake includes nine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 24 people from the Australian Defence Force

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley

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