Leaders must relate to each other as individuals – Dr John Kramer

For our leaders to be able to work better together via their organisations, they must be able to relate to each other as individuals. That is difficult when they go into meetings as representatives of specific organisations. Being able to meet each other on neutral ground is a very good thing.

I was involved at the time of the ‘Rural/Urban Split’ of the mid 1990’s. Many of those involved have moved on, a few still remain. The young ones don’t care about that. We shouldn’t try to cover up that history, it happened, time to move on, but acknowledge that people behaved less than ideally, even if well motivated.

In the past we have had ‘GP Unity’ attempting to bring the key organisations together. Something like that is still essential when we want to negotiate with government and department.

Perhaps a step in that direction might be to collocate all medical organisations in the one building in Canberra. They would have to talk to each other more, and could coordinate their lobbying much more effectively. It has to start somewhere. We don’t need more organisations. We need to make the ones that we have work more constructively.

Some other ideas: Presidents and senior board members, eg Censors could visit each others practices (without media coverage). Identify those GP’s who belong to multiple organisations. They may already be providing some ‘glue’, preventing even greater fragmentation.

GPs are the most diverse, as well as the largest, group within the Medical Profession. Setting small goals first is important. Being involved in the teaching of Medical Students and Registrars is also an opportunity to shape the future. So goals can be short, medium and long-term.

This is essential work.

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