NT leading the way across Australia in advanced rural general practice

  • Registrar Dr Jarrod de Jong, who completed his FARGP through NTGPE.

Registrar Dr Jarrod de Jong, who completed his FARGP through NTGPE.

By
Northern Territory General Practice Education
Stephen Pincus,
Chief Executive Officer
Issue
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There is no greater example in Australia demonstrating the importance of skilled practitioners in rural and remote health care than in the Northern Territory (NT).

We are the third largest area in Australia and host only one per cent of the national population. Just over half of the 240,000 Territorians live in Darwin, and the rest live remote or very remote. Thirty per cent of our population are Indigenous, who have some of the worst determinants of health in the country.

At Northern Territory General Practice Education (NTGPE), we aim to be the regional training provider of choice for GP registrars who want to become skilled GPs with a satisfying career, especially in rural and remote medicine.

In fact, the NT is leading the way nationally with the highest rate of registrars completing advanced training in rural health.

Fourteen NT-based registrars completed their Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) from 2018–21 – the highest rate of all states and territories in Australia.

We also have 10 registrars currently undertaking their FARGP at NTGPE, which is the sole provider of the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program in the NT.

FARGP is a qualification awarded by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) beyond the vocational Fellowship (FRACGP) and caters for both general practice registrars and practicing GPs.

The registrars completed an additional 12 months of training to specialise in different disciplines of medicine including emergency medicine, palliative care and obstetrics, with more than half specialising in Aboriginal health.

The aim of FARGP is to recognise additional training undertaken to develop advanced general practice skills and broaden options for safe, accessible and comprehensive care for Australia’s rural, remote and very remote communities.

This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved and shows that the NT is a national leader in rural health.

We are particularly proud that more than 50 per cent of the registrars have focused on Aboriginal health as their chosen discipline.

Our GP registrars make up vital workforce numbers, and our commitment to rural and remote health means we are making significant contributions to meeting community needs and improving health outcomes in these regions.

The delivery of high-quality education and high-level support to GP registrars in the NT has been built on a foundation of experience, relationships, and local knowledge of health care needs, especially in rural and remote Australia.

NTGPE is a significant contributor to rural and remote health care in the NT, including Aboriginal health.

Our unique approach to the challenges of primary health care in Indigenous communities means NTGPE is at the forefront of supplying GP registrars to improve access to specialist medical care for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia.

NTGPE and the GP registrars who train within the AGPT program are the leaders in rural and remote health care, both in the NT and nationally.

We train well-rounded, highly skilled GPs who are passionate about primary health care in Australia, and our latest FARGP graduates are no different.

NTGPE also sets an expectation that our GP registrars will apply their cultural expertise throughout their career and contribute to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage nationally.

We are training future GPs who will find a solution to Australia’s biggest health issue.

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