First Stage of GP Training Program Delivered Online for First Time

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 09 July, 2014

GP TrainingFrom 26 May – 15 June, 2245 junior doctors who applied for entry into the Australian General Practice Training program (AGPT) undertook the first stage of their selection process online for the first time.

The AGPT situational judgement test is the first of three stages of selection into the national GP training program. Historically, these tests have been delivered via a paper-based model. The new process for this test was successfully delivered via computer in 16 sites, including 58 questions over 116 minutes to complete.

These tests are designed to test applicants’ clinical reasoning, analytical and problem solving skills, and their professional and ethical attributes. The next stage involves multiple mini interviews conducted in national assessment centres across the country.  From 6 – 28 June, GP training applicants completed six individual interviews, each lasting 10 minutes across 15 sites, including all state capital cities.  These interviews are designed to test applicants’ communication and interpersonal skills, organisational and management skills, their sense of vocation and motivation, and also their personal attributes.
GPET Chair, A/Prof Richard Matthews AM says “GPET’s national selection process has had over a decade now to be reviewed, strengthened and it’s now integral to ensuring we have a transparent and rigorous national process by which to ensure we get the best GPs for the future.
"We know that our process is being watched by other OECD countries as a possible model for their GP selection. "Our hope is that the investment into getting the best of the best junior doctors into the program, so that we have the best GPs in the world, continues long after GPET’s gone. This is after all, about patient safety” he said.
GPET Board Member, and president of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), Professor Michael Kidd confirmed the high quality of Australia's selection processes. "Australia has an internationally-recognised and world leading system for training our general practitioners.
"GPET, our colleges and our regional training providers regularly receive requests for support and advice from other nations.  There is strong interest in how we select people into general practice training who are both highly skilled and also prepared to  meet the needs of the Australian community as part of their training, especially through service in rural areas and community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services."
During the next stage of the AGPT national selection process these junior doctors will be notified of their overall scores. They can then review their ranking and if desired, change their preference for their preferred regional training provider.  Finally, they may go through a shortlisting and interview process with their training provider to make sure they’re a good match for the region in which they wish to train.  Ultimately, all applicants receive advice on their offers by end August 2014 to commence early in 2015.
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