On 30 May, 2017, you and I have a unique opportunity to fix the poorly performing governance structure of the RACGP that has cost us dearly.
First, let’s be clear. The election is not about the Medicare freeze or Coke or board numbers or any particular issue. It’s much bigger than that. It’s about having a College that can actually make (and implement) decisions that make your job and my job better. And we need things to get better, much better – we’ve got a lot of ground to make up.
We’ve seen one opportunity after another squandered. College projects and priorities mismanaged, potential partnerships with private entities have been frittered away. And our failure to negotiate with the government back in 2013 saw us being dumped in favour of the AMA. We’ve been virtually outside of the decision-making room ever since.
We’ve seen GP training targeted financially, and our voices silenced in the healthcare reform debates. The College has simply lacked the capacity to respond.
The harsh reality is that current governance structure hinders membership representation and performance. In fact, virtually every legitimate criticism of College can be traced back to the ineffectiveness of the current governance structure.
Yet this is the status quo the no vote wants to maintain.
Some RACGP faculties have been strident in their support of the current structure. On shareGP, I challenged members of those faculties to comment on their effectiveness in managing GP issues, and to provide a list the major outcomes they’d achieved for members over last 6 years. The result? Not. One. Response.
That’s right. It seems the ‘pro no’ faculties have produced nothing meaningful for members over the last 6 years.
I’m not just voting yes because the new governance model is different from the old one. The proposed model actually does what we need it to do – it balances corporate effectiveness and GP leadership. Yes, it’s still GP-led and controlled. It has been researched, proposed and supported by senior GPs within the College. The amount of consultation and member engagement is unprecedented.
While you’re busy seeing patients, the College board and governance models may be the last things on your mind. The thing is, they matter. They matter whether or not you’re thinking about them. They matter to us as a College and they matter to you as an individual member.
An effective governance structure is how we as a collective compete and excel in a crowded and complex health environment.
Having an effective board will allow us to engage politically and respond effectively. If we want the College to be able to protect training and the future our registrars, we need to be more politically responsible. If we want to uphold and improve the status of general practitioners and their role in the health sector, we need to be a more agile and strategic organisation. If we want to be influential in GP financing, we must have organisational maturity.
And that’s not the limit of the new proposal.
This new governance model is also the vehicle for your ideas as member. By creating a broader and more representative council, we’ll give voice and influence to all parts of the College. We’ll finally have the opportunity to foster new leaders outside the faculty sphere. And let’s face it, we need more diverse voices.
The bottom line is that we are voting for our future.
I know that at a time of unprecedented healthcare reform and uncertainty, it can be very tempting to cling to the devil you know. But we can’t afford more mediocrity. It is a folly to face our future with a governance system that’s repeatedly failed.
If you care about your job, the future for our registrars, the integrity of our profession and the impact of the College in the health sector, you simply must vote ‘yes’ to the new governance model.
For me, there’s no other choice.