Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
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The Royal New Zealand College Of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) is the professional body which provides training and ongoing professional development for general practitioners and rural hospital generalists, and sets standards for general practice in New Zealand.
The college provides research, assessment, ongoing education, advocacy and support for general practitioners and general practice. All this contributes to the College's overall goal to improve the health of New Zealanders through high quality general practice care.
The college has approximately 4,000 members, representing around 95 percent of all general practitioners in New Zealand.
The college is governed by a council, representative of general practitioners from throughout New Zealand.
In addition, an executive board consisting of the president, deputy president, a representative from Te Akoranga a Maui (the Māori Faculty), three other members and the chief executive officer make many of the day-to-day decisions required between formal meetings of the council.
Faculties and chapters
College faculties are based on geographical areas are centred round Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago-Southland and allow members to be involved in discussion and decision-making at a regional level. There are also nine sub-faculties which provide local opportunities for connection and collaboration. All college members are automatically assigned to a regional faculty and will receive information about faculty activities directly.
Te Akoranga a Maui
The college has a Maori representative group known as Te Akoranga a Maui. Te Akoranga a Maui is made up of college members who self-identify as Maori and have a Maori whakapapa. Membership is optional.
The college currently has three chapters based on major national areas of practice:
- The ‘Rural Hospital Generalists’ Chapter’ is made up of college members who are involved in the provision of services within the scope of rural hospital medicine. All Division of Rural Hospital Medicine New Zealand (DRHMNZ) members are automatically assigned to this chapter
- The ‘Rural General Practitioners’ Chapter’ is made up of college members who are involved in the provision of services within the scope of general practice in rural communities. Membership of this chapter is optional
- The ‘Associates and Members in Training Chapter’ is made up of doctors who are enrolled in the college’s vocational training programmes. Membership of this chapter is optional.
Categories of membership of the college are split into four main groups:
- Fellow - Fellowship of the college is attained by completing the two-stage General Practice Education Programme (GPEP), passing Primex (Primary Membership Examination), and the Fellowship Assessment and producing a certificate of good standing from the Medical Council of New Zealand.
- Member - The college awards Membership after successful completion of Primex (Primary Membership Exam) at the end of General Practice Education Programme – Stage 1 (GPEP1) or an equivalent overseas programme. Members of good standing have full voting rights.
- Associate in Training - RNZCGP Associates in Training are New Zealand-registered doctors who are involved in a programme of postgraduate training that the college recognises as appropriate to qualify the applicant as a Fellow. Associates in Training may take part on college affairs, but have no voting rights.
- Associate in Practice - RNZCGP Associates in Practice are New Zealand-registered doctors who are engaged in general practice or rural hospital medicine or other aligned scope of practice. They must comply with all Medical Council of New Zealand requirements for aspects of their practice that are not within the scope of New Zealand general practice. Associates in Practice may take part in college affairs, but have no voting rights.
The education and training programme for doctors becoming general practitioners is the General Practice Education Programme (GPEP). This programme is based on doctors working in general practice, with the opportunity to work in rural and/or urban practices and to experience a variety of practice environments. Throughout the programme doctors undertake a learning programme supported by trained educators and teachers. This programme is the standard pathway to Fellowship and vocational registration as a general practitioner.
The standard full-time GPEP programme is 36 months and is completed in two stages. There are options available for completing this part-time. If someone has previous general practice experience this may be recognised and therefore would shorten their time in the programme.
The first year is referred to as GPEP1 and the second and third years are referred to as GPEP2. The Primex examinations are at the end of GPEP1, and then undergo the Fellowship assessment on the completion of GPEP2.
Division of Rural Hospital Medicine
The division is a sub-faculty of the RNZCGP's Rural Faculty.
The main reason it sits as a semi-autonomous body within the existing RNZCGP infrastructure is because even though many rural hospital doctors are general practitioners, many are not. Rural hospital doctors (who are not general practitioners) consider much of their work is outside the current general practitioner scope of practice.
The Division supports rural hospital doctors by:
- Defining the professional standards and body of knowledge required for Rural Hospital Medicine
- Providing an accredited training programme to attain Fellowship of Rural Hospital Medicine and awarding appropriate qualifications and certification for skills and experience
- Ensuring ongoing education and collegial support to practitioners of Rural Hospital Medicine
- Promoting rural health research
- Promoting Rural Hospital Medicine as a vocation
CORNERSTONE is an accreditation programme specifically designed by the College for general practices in New Zealand.
Accreditation is a self-assessment and external peer review process used by health care organisations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve the health care system.
Aiming for excellence
Aiming for Excellence is the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ standard for general practice. It contains indicators and criteria that identify minimum legal and safety standards and those that pose significant risk as defined by the college. These reflect a sample of quality measurements considered important by all stakeholders, including patients. Each indicator has been designed to consider patients first.
The college publishes:
- The Journal of Primary Health Care (JPHC).
- GP Pulse, a current affairs magazine of the RNZCGP.
- ePulse, a e-newsletter carrying salient news items, information about consultations, events, and vacancies.
- Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners Official website