Cape Institute courses

On 1 July 2020, North Coast General Practice Training (NCGPT) launched CAPE Institute, continuing to deliver quality education for clinicians but now expanded to include practice teams as well. CAPE's systems simplify tracking education and training records, a new burden for health professionals, now necessary under AHPRA's updated CPD requirements. 

NCGPT was known as a not-for-profit organisation that has always had quality general practice at its heart. NCGPT was faced with the prospect of operating without a grant from a major funder, following an unexpected decision from the Primary Health Network to establish an in-house team to develop and deliver clinical education in their catchment. This role was previously undertaken by NCGPT on their behalf. 

The Board of NCGPT has been encouraged by feedback from clinicians in the region and had already been considering strategies to build a sustainable future. After talking to local clinicians we realised there was a significant appetite for affordable, reliable, unbiased, independent education. 

GPs, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals reported unmet education needs and expressed frustration about the cost and inconvenience of meeting their CPD requirements. GPs felt ‘swamped’ with education about national priorities and COVID-19, but said it was harder to find independent, practical and sponsor free education that was relevant to regional general practice. 

Nurses experienced many barriers to obtaining education relevant to general practice settings, while Allied Health professionals reported that while they could access discipline specific education from their professional associations, many areas of interest that involved interprofessional practice were unmet.

Practice managers and owners were vocal about the challenges they faced relating to sourcing appropriate training for clinical and non-clinical staff to meet accreditation and registration standards. They expressed frustration about the time wasted sourcing and tracking professional development for multiple staff, particularly when provided by a myriad of organisations.

A number of GPs and Allied Health Professionals also highlighted the need for business skills training identified in the NSW Rural Doctors Network Primary Health Workforce Needs Assessment 2019-20. Although not traditionally taught to health professionals, many clinicians in regional Australia find themselves as owners of independent, dynamic businesses and responsible for large numbers of staff - unsurprisingly there is a demand. 

Research into the cost of education highlighted the variability across providers of CPD. Face-to-face education had added costs related to disrupted practice operations and travel. Some ‘free’ education was available only to limited audiences based on geography or was provided to customers of a particular vendor. Much digital education was designed as modules for self-paced learning and was not regularly refreshed.

The CAPE Institute program has been designed to provide simple access to affordable, quality education with the needs of general practices and other health businesses in mind.

Topics are spread across three streams: Clinical, Management and Compliance, and Wellbeing. Alignment to RACGP accreditation standards is strong, with mandatory topics delivered across the year and clinical subjects incorporating key standards and including clinical discussion questions and suggestions for QI activities where relevant.

Subscriptions are available to suit individuals and practice teams of all sizes and provide predictability, removing the need for multiple transactions for individual events. Subscribers can attend an unlimited number of courses without paying anything extra and have access to an exclusive subscriber only library. 

As part of any subscription,CAPE Institute manages the training records - making it easier for individuals and practices to track CPD for compliance reporting to AHPRA and accrediting agencies. 

Given the recent changes to the APHRA declaration process for GPs there are potentially significant savings for those GPs who decide to record their own CPD rather than using the RACGP system. Once one takes into account that this is pre tax spending, the cost of subscriptions becomes very attractive. For those socially minded, NCGPT is a not-for-profit organisation, so any profits from ticket sales or subscriptions go back into education, rather than into the pocket of a corporation. 

Sharyn White, CEO of NCGPT is confident that CAPE Institute will deliver quality education and have a range of interesting topics in the program. 

“The pricing provides real value for money. NCGPT has a great reputation for working well with general practices and now we are launching a unique service that clinicians have long been saying is needed but somehow never gets addressed. 

“It’s time for general practices and allied health businesses to band together and get the service that they want - not what others dictate”.

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