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Sharing rural Practice Management knowledge at Coogee

4th December 2023

The Rural Practice Managers Conference, hosted by RDN and the Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM), took place at Coogee on 22nd and 23rd November as part of Rural Health Month. Building on the success of last year’s Practice Managers Conference, this year’s program combined rural-focused education sessions with opportunities to network with peers.

“We had two days full of education for rural Practice Managers, with around 70 Practice Managers from all different locations across New South,” said RDN’s Practice and Workforce Support Lead Kristy Seysener. “We know that our rural Practice Managers can be very isolated and it’s such a huge job, so this event is proving that we can bring people together, create those networks and really wrap around the support for them.”

Participating in a panel discussion on how models of care in the Aboriginal Medical Service can benefit mainstream general practice was CEO of Orange Aboriginal Medical Service Jamie Newman.

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“This is about having the health sector participating, learning from one another, hopefully building solid relationships that we can work with one another so that our people in community have options for care,” Mr Newman said ahead of his panel appearance.

“The amount of people that have turned up here for the next two days is just amazing. They are people who want to see change, people that are invested in change. If we pool our resources, we pool our funding, if we look at shared care and look at sharing our resources, then we should be able to get the outcomes that our people desire and our people deserve. So, these forums allow for that connectivity within our sector.”

Facilitating the panel discussion was practice management guru Gary Smith, who also led a talk on what the future of primary care may look like, with an overview of the MBS and the introduction of MyMedicare program.

“The key takeaway message to Practice Managers is to network, network, network and start to think about what their role as a Practice Manager may be… and how they look at the viability and sustainability with their service or their practice within their community,” Mr Smith told RDN.

“I think one of the most important parts is in relation to knowledge management and I think the more we address the issue and think about that the knowledge we have gained is not for us to keep - we’ve been given it to by someone else and I think we have an obligation to ensure we pass that knowledge on.”

Rakesh Patel attended the Conference with a group of colleagues from Nepean Blue Mountains PHN and was full of praise for the culture of knowledge exchange it has fostered: “I learned a lot of new things of which I wasn’t aware,” he said. “It’s a dynamic field - things change - and RDN, through these events and through their communications, play that major role in keeping the practices, PHNs and everyone aware of what’s happening in the GP workforce.”

The Rural Practice Managers Conference is an annual event that takes place as part of Rural Health Pro’s ‘Rural Health Month’. Full coverage of Rural Health Month can be found at www.ruralhealthpro.org

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