Plebicite response AAAGP Membership regarding establishment of faculties
Prepared by Jonathon Newbury, Adelaide University
Total number of replies: 21
Q1. Do you support a subfaculty structure?
Yes 13 No 8
Which subfaculties should be developed
Comments on the risks of a subfaculty structure:
Subgroups can meet for specific purposes as the need arises
Q2. What activities do you want to see the AAAGP sustain?
Support for Scientific meeting:
Become the active, nationally recognised voice of Australian academic general practice.
Be responsive and accountable to membership.
Q3. Fee you would be prepared to pay:
Suggest reduced fee for registrars.
Q4 Should AAAGP consider developing institutional membership?
Yes 13 No 5 N/A 3
Suggest a substantial fee eg $1500-$2000
Suggest $500 - $1500 pa depending on size
Insitiutions may not be the cash cows some think they are.
Can federal support be sought for AAAGP?
Should wait until AAAGP demonstrates it is active and viable.
Suggest ex officio membership of one representative of each subfaculty.
If this is to be a worthwhile grass roots organisation the various contributing factions should meet and talk at the local level. ie Training Program. University GPs in the field etc . It was with this thought that I joined -- to meet and be stimulated by others outside the Training Program. I am personally not interested in just another distant National Organisation without such local activity.
If the AAAGP is to represent all the "subfaculties" constituants (which I support) then the name AAAGP would be ambiguous since Academic tends to mean University affiliated. Broadly speaking "academic activities" refers to "research" and to "teaching". A new name would have to be invented so that the "non-university" members would feel part of it rather than in a group dominated by the "true academics".
This association would form the basis of a group with common interests in the "academic enhancement of general practice" independently of their affiliation. This group could be an attempt to overcome duplications and provide on one national voice for research and teaching. At first it could focus on such activities as one major national peer reviewed journal (could be REASON), State and National regular meetings of high caliber for research and teaching, network for collaborative work.
The most important is to have an email listing of members who can be consulted at short notice on relevant issues. This is cheap and easy & if we donít have money or time we can still do this and itís most worthwhile. I dont mind if the organisation is fairly inactive most of the time & thereís no point creating work if itís not a priority for members. But itís worth being able to activate it quickly when needed. If we donít do this and an important issue arises for academic GP , we will not have time to get organised.
It would be helpful to define the different groups that the AAAGP represents a bit more by distinguishing those who have academic appointments (fractional and full time) from GPs with academic status. This second group do valuable teaching and research and they and academic departments benefit from the exchange of ideas. It would be good to engage GPs with academic status in the AAAGP too. When there is agreement about the various types of members, question one in the questionnaire needs to be modified.
I think it is time to make it attractive for Divisional staff who are involved in research, evaluation and development to belong to AAAGP too; they could have a separate subfaculty if their interests and concerns differ from those of university academics. Membership could also be opened up to people in other organsiations who are engaged in research, evaluation and development in general practice eg evaluators of coordinated care trials.
I wholeheartedly support the proposal that AAAGP gets underway with major tasks. This will demonstrate what the organisation has to offer and build credibility which is essential when negotiating with government on policy and funding matters. I favour concentrating on collaborative research and having a regular newsletter. I think that we should define more clearly what is meant by 'more support for scientific meetings' -we could provide support in planning, scheduling sessions, reviewing submitted abstracts, providing feedback to presenters on the effectiveness of their presentations, etc.
In the recent AAAGP newsletter Max suggests having a debate about whether general practice research is pertinent to the practising doctor. I have written to Max directly indicating that I will include his suggestion in the information package on future general practice conferences which the NIS is preparing for the GP Branch. It is a topical issue and one that might stimulate the membership to action so I suggest that we debate/discuss the relevance of general practice research at the forthcoming AAAGP dinner in Adelaide too.
I would support an increase in individual subscriptions if we link this to a one year plan which specifies AAAGP activities (eg undertaking a specific consultancy, conducting research) rather than saying it would be used for substantial secretarial and publishing tasks.
I think it is unlikely that organisations will invest $1000 each in AAAGP at this stage. However if we have a productive year, and then invite them to take out membership, they may be more likely to do so.
Unless there is a substantial increase in fees and therefore committment to what A3GP COULD be Ė we may as well pack up and go home. If we don't believe in ourselves - no government will give a damn about what we might say. I believe the University's together could have a very strong voice with government. The sub-faculty idea is great.
RACGP-TP can stay in a sub-faculty if they don't wish to go forward on an issue the universities may want to pursue.
While the AAAGP continues with limited resources and no recognised national voice, it will continue to be a very minor player in GP politics. This may be appropriate if the main objectives are to link academic general practitioners and support the academic content of GP conferences.
It may well be that the proposed subfaculty groups actually need to form their own organisations to become independently politically active and vocal. For example, an association for the university departments of general practice or an Academic Faculty within the RACGP or an independent academic GP association or a federation of Division of GP research staff.
What is required is more money from more members not more from a few. The challenge is fire up people to join and get something from membership so there are funds, ideas and inputs.
We are a very disparate group with lots of conflicting interests. The bigger and more powerful we become as a group, the more likely these conflicts will become more apparent. What do we do then? The
Sub-faculties would merely allow conflicting groups to organise.