Board Apprentice role is an opportunity to shape future of healthcare system

19 April 2023

Category: ΢ҕland members

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When Dr Geraldine Wilson took on the role of ΢ҕlBoard Apprentice in 2022, she hoped to learn about governance in the healthcare system and contribute to the direction of general practice at what she described as a ‘pivotal time.’

Over six months later, and despite a disruptive period in the health sector, she says the experience has lived up to expectations.

"While the role is as an apprentice, my voice has been respected, enabling me to participate fully in meetings, despite not having voting rights," Geraldine says.

"I have learnt a great deal about the structure and function of the College, and the huge effort and knowledge that goes into delivering education, quality programmes and advocacy.”

“΢ҕlsenior leadership have done an enormous amount of work representing general practice and have enhanced the reputation of the ΢ҕland general practice in the health sector generally. I have found the board enjoyable and collegial, and learnt a great deal from other board members’ and the senior leadership team’s skill sets."

The ΢ҕlis currently recruiting for the next board apprentice and Geraldine says she encourages anyone with an interest in governance to apply, particularly those with some prior experience.

"Exposure to different governance roles build on each other. Anyone who has stepped up to a school board of trustees will find this role complementary and a smooth transition." 

"This role provides great training for those who wish to seek further governance opportunities in a supportive and encouraging environment."

Geraldine particularly appreciated the opportunity to attend the Institute of Directors one day course, and the mentoring she received from other board members through the board induction process.

During her term, she says the ΢ҕlhas been particularly focused on monitoring performance against its strategy, and financial management including use of ΢ҕlinvestments and investing in projects. 

"I've been involved in re-writing the board manual and policies. And along with the National Advisor Council, the Board has been involved in development of ΢ҕlposition statements. There's also been a lot of work on understanding risk and preparing to develop the ΢ҕlstrategy for 2024 onwards.”

Going forward, she sees the core functions of the ΢ҕlas delivery of specialist GPs, rural hospital medicine training, maintaining quality standards and supporting ΢ҕlmembers.

Geraldine says she is optimistic about the future as the next generation of GP leaders step forward and become involved in the design of our new health system, using information technology and prioritising primary care funding and healthcare delivery.

"Although we are all busy and under the pump right now, it is really important that interested GPs have the opportunity to partake in governance experience and training so that they can continue to represent general practice in health leadership and be involved in decision making."