Over 290 GPs trained in the South West region

Over 290 GPs trained in the South West region.

17 October 2018

South West trains the highest number of GPs than any other region in WA. 

An event for doctors and other health professionals is being held this Thursday October 18 to acknowledge and celebrate the profession of general practice and the enormous contribution the South West region has made to developing Western Australia’s next generation of GPs.

Since 2002, the medical practices and hospitals in and around Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River and Collie have been host, mentor and friend to over 290 junior doctors who have chosen a career as general practitioner. 

With over 60 GP supervisors in 44 local medical practices providing education and training, the South West has been and continues to be one of the biggest contributors to GP training in WA.

Like every other medical speciality, general practice takes an extended period of specialised training.  Western Australian General Practice Education and Training (WAGPET) is the sole provider of the Federal Government funded Australian General Practice Training program (AGPT) in WA. 

The program offers GP registrars (doctors in GP training) valuable, practical experience in different training locations, including teaching hospitals and rural and urban medical practices.

Dr Peter Wutchak is a former GP registrar in Collie who over the last 14 years has gone on to train over 35 GP registrars. Based at the Collie River Valley Medical Centre, Dr Wutchak says he first came to Collie because it ticketed a lot of boxes for himself and his wife, a country girl from Harvey. The South West and Collie had the support, the community and the capacity for Dr Wutchak to grow clinically.

According to Dr Wutchak, a rural GP placement remains a fantastic way to learn the art of general practice and become a truly independent GP. “When the specialist is hours away and you’re the bunny that has to manage your patient in the local hospital, you learn ways to cope that serve you well in your future career.” Peter says.

Shortly after becoming a GP supervisor, Dr Wutchak learned the benefits of having registrars in the practice. Not only do registrars keep the practice fresh and vibrant, they also help keep its knowledge up to date. “New blood that is raw and receptive, really helps revitalise the practice and helps keep our processes fresh and current,” Peter said. “I feel teaching can really bind and finish off good practices, and there is no better way to reinforce your own knowledge and learn than by teaching.”

For Dr Wutchak, and many GPs, the privilege of being part of the important moments in someone’s life (birth, death, significant illness) and seeing them through it, is the most rewarding part of the job. “You become bonded to these people who are your patients and sometimes your friends. Even if we are only a part of the treatment process, with definitive care happening at specialist level, you still feel like you are making a difference. Equally if things don't go well, you share the pain with your patients. That emotional connection, while not for every doctor, is an important and very rewarding part of being a rural GP.”

80% of Australians have a regular GP.  Preparing and growing the next generation of GPs in rural areas of WA is important work worth celebrating.

About GP education and training in WA

Western Australia General Practice Education and Training (WAGPET) is the sole provider of the federally funded Australian General Practice Training program (AGPT) in our state.  The program takes doctors seeking to specialise as general practitioners through to fellowship – the highest recognition for a GP.

WAGPET delivers training and education to registrars (doctors in GP training) through a structured program supported by a highly skilled network of medical educators and supervisors.  Each registrar is placed in accredited medical practices in WA’s regional towns and metropolitan locations.

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