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Australas Med J. 2011;4(6):308-14. doi: 10.4066/AMJ.2011.757. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

The identification of the general practice registrar needing assistance.

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GP Supervisor,Bogong GP Training.



Doctors undertaking vocational training in general practice in Australia may require assistance, in addition to the normal training offered as part of their training programme. Issues requiring assistance may go undetected for a period of time. Delay in the identification of issues leads to delay in the provision of the assistance. The aim of this study is to determine the most common reasons registrars require extra assistance, and how these issues are identified. The findings of this study will provide direction for 21 regionally based training providers (RTPs) to develop improved tools to ensure earlier detection of registrars requiring assistance.


This study is based on qualitative research methods, using semi-structured interviews with senior medical education staff of four regional general practice training providers in Victoria, Australia.


Issues identified included language and cultural issues, applied knowledge and skills, attitude and professionalism, and health and family issues. The principal method that training providers identified issues was via the GP supervisor. This was predominantly by informal communication, rather than formal evaluation sheets. Other methods included the external clinical teaching visit and other training formative assessments. These more formalised procedures were more likely to identify issues later than desired. They were also used as a way of clarifying suspected problems. The selection process was not felt to be helpful, and the examinations provided information too late.


An increased awareness of the potential issues leading to a registrar to require assistance enables identification and subsequent action to occur in a more timely and more useful fashion. Informal communication between practices and training programme staff should be encouraged to enable these issues to be dealt with early in training.


General practice; remediation; vocational training

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