When we stand together, great change is possible
I love being a GP. I love being part of the general practice profession. Our community of GPs is vibrant and diverse. We are passionate about the profession of general practice and compelled to improve the health of our patients and families.
As I think about how to make general practice even better, I think about creating new opportunities for GPs to come together. I believe it is through working together that we can make change happen.
In my experience, collaboration to bring about change is never clear cut, quick or easy. It is messy, fragmented, divisive, confusing and draining. However, collaboration when it works can bring about change that was never thought possible.
Throughout my career I have joined committees and working groups in a hope my voice and actions will contribute to bringing about change. Sometimes these roles have led to positive outcomes, other times I have become frustrated at the barriers put in the way of positive progress.
One of my most positive experiences, in collaborating for change, has been as Chair of RACGP Rural. It has been in this role that I have seen how change can happen. One such change, achieved through the collaboration of many GPs across Australia, relates to rural generalist medicine.
The focus of the rural generalist reforms have been about obtaining recognition and subsequent remuneration for the advanced skills of rural general practitioners. Debates have centred on how to enable general practitioners to work in both primary care and hospital settings in rural communities. It has also been about supporting the next generation of rural general practitioners to acquire and maintain skills in advanced areas of general practice.
I am optimistic that the rural generalist reforms, championed by so many GPs, will be positive for the profession and for rural communities.
Bringing about fundamental change to general practice is hard. I have seen general practitioners spend their whole careers championing rural general practice and rural generalist medicine. I have seen them represent their profession on committees and working groups where change has not seen possible. But I have seen how change can happen, when there is alignment on vision, sustained leadership, a willingness to try something new and a commitment to collaboration. Hard working general practitioners know how to get things done. When these same GPs find commonality and a way to work together change becomes possible.
I am hopeful as a profession we can create other opportunities to come together to make general practice the profession of choice for young doctors.
I am keen to hear your ideas. How can we work together to make change happen in general practice? Send me your thoughts or give me a call.
Dr Ayman Shenouda