Updates from the NT Medical Program (NTMP)

A/Prof Emma Kennedy

I recently attended the Alice Springs NT General Practice Education registrar workshop. This is one of 2 face to face teaching workshops held in the NT for RACGP and ACRRM registrar training. With Commonwealth funding of General Practice training changing to a profession led model, the regional training provider will wind down. This presents opportunities to focus on partnerships that will be needed to anchor quality training for the needs of the communities in the NT, and the strong professional ‘know how’ for training quality doctors in our context. Flinders University has been one of 6 member organisations of the regional provider of General Practice training (NTGPE) and therefore collaborating with the other local organisations to steer GP training. The local pathways from medical student training to specialty training are critical in applying our Flinders Medical Course to the context of service delivery, and the current GP training transition challenges us to consider other ways to remain engaged.

It was great to meet NTMP graduates in the GP training pathway at the workshop this week. Our NT community context experience in Yr3 and 4 is frequently raised as an important inspiration in our Flinders MD program in the NT. This is the experience of learning and living in smaller communities with the range of health professional expertise and a lived experience of integrated resources and shared support. A student reported; ‘I understood what health is about… it really is more than disease and illness.’

Our early data shows that at least 25% of our graduates are choosing GP training.

The contribution of our clinical teachers in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek, Darwin and Alice Springs is vital in supporting the learning for competence and confidence of our graduates to aspire to generalist futures. I acknowledge that this is from all areas of the health workforce including in the larger hospitals. Our patients and communities are reliant on the work we do.

We are keen to expand the learning for medical students in the context of General Practice in Alice Springs and Darwin. An expression of interest for having year 1 or 2 students to observe, will be circulated soon. Students in Yr3 are active in placements in Aboriginal Medical Services and GP and community clinics across the Northern Territory. They rate these experiences highly, enjoying the opportunity to conduct patient consultations and confront the challenges of communication and clinical skills.

Associate Professor Emma Kennedy  RACGP
Associate Professor in Medical Education & Training,
Flinders Medical Program (NT)
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