Published by GPEx on March 10, 2022

GP and GP registrar earnings and conditions have received quite a lot of media attention. Recently there has also been an exploration of different registrar employment models for national consideration. We know from our research that one factor that negatively impacts interest in General Practice as a career is the difference in employment arrangements between hospital-based junior doctors and GP registrars in community practice. However, there has been little research in this area to determine and document the facts. In order to fill this gap, GPEx undertook a research project entitled ‘Understanding the financial implications of entering general practice training for junior doctors in South Australia in 2021’. This project was co-funded by RDWA and supported by GPRA.

The primary purpose of this project was to explore the evidence regarding employment differences for doctors choosing to enter GP training, with a focus on the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) pathway. Secondly, we sought to explore GP earning potential using existing data and research compared with other specialties.

Here’s a few things we found:

  • Hospital-based registrars were uncertain regarding what they could earn within general practice and how Medicare billings might influence their pay.
  • Community-based registrars indicated they would like increased training and support to navigate Medicare billing efficiently and effectively.
  • There seems to be a general lack of awareness of additional benefits and entitlements available to registrars.
  • Data suggested there is a small difference in base salary between GP registrars and other specialty registrars during vocational training, but that post-Fellowship, the salary gap widens after adjusting for age and gender.
  • There is a need for continued advocacy for transfer of leave entitlements and access to parental and study leave for GP registrars.

A short report is available here.

The report supports the need for continued advocacy for GP as a financially recognised specialty. GPEx are currently working through local quality improvements as a result of this project. We will be integrating information about the relevant benefits and entitlements into our regular and personalised training plan process, and are pleased to have resources available on GPEx One to support registrars and practices to audit and review Medicare billings to assist in learning appropriate and ethical billing practices.

We would like to thank our steering group for this project and everyone who participated.