Rural UQ medical researchers take out 2020 RACGP Foundation award

4 Feb 2021

Two rural medical researchers from The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) have taken out the 2020 Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Foundation Best General Practice Research Article in the Australia Journal of General Practice (AJGP) Award.

UQRCS Senior Research Fellow, Dr Belinda O’Sullivan and UQRCS Head of Regional Training Hub Research, Associate Professor Matthew McGrail, along with six collaborative peers, received the award for their study titled: “Factors related to rural general practitioners supervising general practice registrars in Australia: A national cross-sectional study”.

Dr Belinda O'Sullivan
Dr Belinda O'Sullivan
Professor Matthew McGrail
Professor Matthew McGrail

The study, based on national data, was established to examine rural general practitioners (GPs), how many supervise GPs in training already and which rural GPs are more likely to supervise.

Currently in Australia, there is limited national-scale information about rural GP supervisors, despite the fact that fifty per cent of registrars train in rural areas and we need a constant supply of GPs willing to supervise.

The study found that overall, 57.8 per cent of rural GPs were supervising registrars. It was also discovered that the link to becoming a supervisor was strongly related to being Australian-trained, working in a larger practice, and already supervising medical students and interns.

The study goes on to suggest that increasing rural supervision could be achieved by:

  • supporting GPs in smaller practices to engage in supervision
  • maintaining the strong involvement of GPs in larger practices
  • seeing a greater number of Australian-trained graduates working in rural general practice, and
  • increasing support for international medical graduates to Fellow as GPs, and gain confidence to supervise in the Australian system.

UQRCS Director of Research, Associate Professor Srinivas Kondalsamy Chennakesavan is proud of his team for receiving recognition at the most recent RACGP Foundation awards.

“The research evidence developed by our team members at UQRCS is helping solve the maldistribution of clinicians in regional, rural and remote areas.

“This award recognises the quality of the work led by Dr O’Sullivan and the importance of the topic area,” he said.
UQRCS Senior Research Fellow, Dr Belinda O’Sullivan says that the paper complements rural health workforce and rural training strategies research; two of UQRCS research program areas.

“It has been great to get a national picture about where rural GP supervision is up to and the research helps by pointing out some practical ways we can attract more rural GP supervisors and thereby expand rural training opportunities,” she said.
The study: Factors related to rural general practitioners supervising general practice registrars in Australia: A national cross-sectional study can be viewed in the AJGP here.

Media: UQ Rural Clinical School, Justine Barrett, or 0414 678 847.