GP 12 Conference thoughts

I just got back from the annual Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) conference, GP12, which was held on the Gold Coast from Oct 25-27.

It was the first real conference of any kind that I had attended and was keen to take it all in and learn some useful medical knowledge along the way. About 1000 GPs/Registrars/Students were in attendance, along with over 120 exhibitors.  I found out during the week that only 70 delegates from South Australia had attended, which was a paltry 7% of the entire delegation. We need more!  Also, there didn’t seem to be too many GP registrars in attendance, or if there were, I didn’t meet too many. Maybe there needs to be some registrar focused sessions at GP13, not only to be aimed at registrars, but also for us to meet others that are out there. I know there were some student activities done.

I started by attending the RACGP Annual General Meeting on the Thursday morning. Many motions were passed and it seems that the College is in the right hands.  Annual profit was ~$80k, and members at an all time high, around 20k. Outgoing president Clare Jackson spoke very well and it was evident what kind of impact she has had in the last 2 years.

Next up was the RACGP Convocation. The Convocation this year had been trialed as an online only voting system. While this might seem like the most appropriate way to do it in this modern age, only two topics were suggested, and zero votes cast by the RACGP members. Communication about this system to the members was raised as a problem, and I myself had no knowledge of the online bit.  After some discussion it was passed that we could vote then and there, so the issues of abuse against women and structured supervision of IMGs were motioned and passed. As I tweeted at the time, I hadn’t seen this many motions passed since Garabaldi.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony provided some entertainment in the form of Bundjalung Kunjiel displaying traditional Aboriginal dance, as well as lighting a fire with sticks on stage! Very impressive.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek addressed the audience and it was good to know that the RACGP have a close relationship with the government’s health system, or at least the minister.

Professor Clare Gerada (Chair, Royal College of GPs, UK) gave a great talk about the UK perspective of health reforms. I know she is an avid tweeter, so follow her @clarercgp

The gala dinner topped off the conference with award winners presented. Registrar of the year Dr Catherine Engelke was a well deserved winner and spoke of fulfilling her dream to become a GP. Practice of the year went to Prospect Medical Center in Tasmania, and GP of the year was Dr Tony Lembke.

In the aim to keep this post as concise as possible, I won’t go into too much detail about all the sessions (there were too many to report on here). Instead, I’ll list are some of the medical tidbits that I took out of the week in the next blog post, of which I can apply to clinical practice.   If you are keen to find out more about the sessions, search #GP12Live on twitter and have a flick through.

I had a great time overall, the conference was very professional and well run. Good scope of education sessions, plenaries, with many tips that I can bring back to my day-to-day consulting.  I forgot to mention, the food was fantastic, and always plenty of it!

Looking forward to GP13 in Darwin!

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