Preparation for general practice vocational training: time for a rethink

Susan M Wearne, Parker J Magin and Neil A Spike
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00379
Published online: 5 March 2018

Changes may be needed to facilitate GP registrars’ transition into general practice

Formal training for general practice in Australia began with Commonwealth funding of the Family Medicine Program in 1973.1 Future general practitioners worked in hospital specialties relevant to general practice, and then learned while working as GPs, under supervision, in accredited training practices. Since then, general practice and hospital medicine have changed significantly, but the GP colleges’ requirements for hospital experience ahead of GP training remain. Given the bottleneck in hospital junior doctor training positions, and junior doctors’ concerns that their stressful, demanding workloads are of questionable educational value, it is timely to reconsider the effectiveness of this preparation for general practice.

  • Susan M Wearne1,2
  • Parker J Magin3,4
  • Neil A Spike5,6

  • 1 Department of Health, Canberra, ACT
  • 2 Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • 3 University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW
  • 4 GP Synergy, Newcastle, NSW
  • 5 Eastern Victoria General Practice Training, Melbourne, VIC
  • 6 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC



The ReCEnT study is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. We thank Bruce Willett and Nina Kilfoyle for their constructive comments on earlier drafts.

Competing interests:

Susan Wearne is Senior Medical Adviser in the Health Workforce Division, Department of Health. Parker Magin is Director of Research and Evaluation for GP Synergy, the regional training organisation for New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Neil Spike is Director of Training for Eastern Victoria GP Training. The views expressed in this article are the authors’ and not necessarily those of their employers.


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