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Quality assurance in GP training

An annual survey is collecting information about the postgraduate training experiences of General Practice registrars across Australia.

From July 2015, postgraduate doctors around Australia will be asked about their satisfaction with the quality of their training, training providers and career progression as part of the annual Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Registrar Satisfaction Survey.

The survey results are used by Department of Health to help ensure that professional training programs delivered by Training Providers meet the standards and requirements of both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. It also collects important data about the characteristics of General Practice (GP) registrars so as to build a better understanding of their needs and identify ways to improve training.

The survey has been undertaken for more than a decade, with significant improvements to the questionnaire implemented in 2013 and 2014 by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in conjunction with GP stakeholder representatives.

All GP registrars enrolled in an AGPT program are contacted to take part in the survey. In 2014, more than 1200 GP registrars participated in the survey. Key findings from the survey are highlighted in this infographic.

In general, GP registrar satisfaction was high. In terms of their Regional Training Provider, 94 per cent were satisfied with their education and training, 91 per cent were satisfied with the support provided and 94 per cent were satisfied with the resources available to them. Around 97 per cent were satisfied with their clinical work during training.

No significant differences in satisfaction were apparent across different groups of GP registrars except that in general the further away from a metropolitan area the registrar is located, the lower the satisfaction levels recorded.

According to the survey director, ACER Principal Research Fellow Dr Daniel Edwards, these broad findings match a similar pattern to those identified in previous years’ surveys, confirming the general high levels of quality and supervision provided through the program.

While a core set of items in each year's survey enables the monitoring of trends across time, other items are amended each year to offer new insights into GP registrars' experiences of their training and careers.

The 2014 survey offered some new insights into registrar expectations, finding that, for most registrars, the level of commitment required to complete their training successfully, closely matched the level they anticipated prior to commencement. Only on the issue of time in self-directed learning was the actual commitment required by registrars notably greater than they had been expecting prior to enrolment.

Another new and important insight from the 2014 survey was the finding that registrars who relocate to regional and remote areas for their training generally intend to remain in the region of their training on completion of the program.

The 2015 survey will continue to build on data collected in previous years to provide further insight into the GP registrar experience and assist training providers in ensuring their programs produce high-quality doctors for the future.

Following the survey phase, ACER will prepare a project report for the Department of Health as well as detailed reports for each of the Training Providers to assist with their continuous improvement. ■

Find out more:
Further information about the GP Registrar Satisfaction Survey is available from the AGPT website.

RD

About the author

Dr Daniel Edwards is the Research Director of ACER's Tertiary Education research program. 

More [rd] articles by Daniel Edwards

View selected works of Daniel Edwards

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