More than a snow job – training GP registrars in alpine medicine

MCCC aims to equip GP registrars working in alpine settings with skills drawn from many medical specialties, including general medicine, emergency medicine, anaesthetics, orthopaedics and sports medicine. 

There’s no business like snow business!

Medical treatment in alpine settings can vary markedly from practice in suburban hospitals due to limited resources, extreme weather, remoteness, transport and patient movement issues.

GP registrars with MCCC GP Training can develop valuable emergency and procedural skills in remote and alpine settings under the guidance of experienced GP Supervisors who work in accredited teaching clinics with associated on-mountain settings located at Bright/Mount Hotham; Mansfield/Mount Buller and Mount Beauty/Falls Creek.

These alpine practices offer posts that are highly sought after by GP registrars, especially as supervisors at these clinics can offer a combined experience of 100 + years in alpine medicine.

“These posts provide a unique GP training experience, address workforce issues in the alpine region and contribute to the training of more highly skilled practitioners, many of whom stay in the region due to the dual attractions of diverse medicine and lifestyle opportunities,” said MCCC Medical Educator and Mt Beauty/Falls Creek GP, Dr Angela Stratton.

Preparing for ski season 2017

In the lead up to the opening of ski season, GP supervisors from the three alpine clinics in MCCC partnered with emergency ski patrol retrieval teams and paramedics to offer a unique Alpine Skills workshop at Mt Buller in early June.

GP registrars, Fellowed GPs and medical students attended the two day workshop that incorporated on-slope training scenarios, including ski patrol, management of trauma in a remote environment, fracture management, and hypothermia management.

The training was delivered by experienced GPs from the alpine region, together with emergency ski patrol retrieval teams and paramedics.

Importantly, the course provided ongoing support for supervisor professional development, bringing together 12 GPs from three resorts who shared expertise and learnt from each other.

“I completed this course when I was a GP registrar. It’s an amazing opportunity! The course was designed and is run by Alpine Supervisors and teaches the specific skill set that is required by doctors working in a remote, and challenging environment with limited equipment and back up,” said Dr Angela Stratton.

Building skills to meeting community needs

The unique Alpine skills curriculum offered by MCCC GP Training builds on a legacy identified by medical educators and GP supervisors who worked with the former Bogong GP Training.

In 2012 Bogong identified a gap in GP registrar training and utilised the knowledge and skills of GPs who have worked in the Alpine Resort Medical Centres to develop new curriculum and resources.

An Alpine Medical Handbook includes a focus on musculoskeletal problems – an area where GP registrars often have a limited understanding.