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Master educator is GP of the Year
A 30-YEAR dedication to medical education and “making the system work” has seen Bundaberg GP Dr Patrick Byrnes named RACGP GP of the Year.
Dr Byrnes was recently the RACGP representative on the Nurse Practitioner Advisory Group, and invested much effort in negotiating with the Federal Government to ensure relationships between GPs and nurse practitioners (NPs) were collaborative and workable.
As one of the first GPs in the country to directly employ an NP in his practice, Dr Byrnes felt he could contribute to the negotiations.
“I was working with an NP and felt I had a lot of experience in practical application that could help to make sure we ended up with a system that benefited both doctors and [NPs], rather than an adversarial system that benefited one side over the other,” he explains. “That is really my goal for many things – I am really interested in making sure the system works.”
But while he is pleased at the collaborative arrangements in place – which stipulate NPs must work with GPs before they can access MBS rebates – he is unsure the final scheme will be workable. He is also dissatisfied with the Federal Government proposal for the practice nurse incentive program and wants to see the idea scrapped. “It is really bad policy,” he says. “It isn’t financially viable.”
Dr Byrnes says he is “astonished” at his win, and adds that it is one of the highlights of his long career. However, this is not the first accolade he has collected – his Alexandra Park Medical Centre won RACGP Practice of the Year in 2006, and he won the GPET Supervisor of the Year award in 2007.
Other RACGP award winners this year include Registrar of the Year Dr Belinda Wozencroft and Supervisor of the Year Dr James Best. The Practice of the Year award went to The Practice in Sydney’s west.
Two former RACGP presidents were also recognised: Dr Eric Fisher received the Rose-Hunt Award, and Dr Peter Joseph received the Brian Williams Award.
See MO next week for The Interview with Dr Byrnes.