PP-675 : Advocacy campaign in Austria: A request for specialization training of future general practitioners

Author(s): 
Florian Stigler, Adrian Moser, Helmut J. F. Salzer, Julia Baumgartner, Michael Wendler, Martin Sprenger, Chris van Weel, Austria
Text: 
Austria is one of the few countries within the European Union in which future general practitioners (GPs) receive their entire postgraduate training within a hospital setting. Therefore the common objective of this youth led advocacy campaign is to propose a primary care reform to strengthen general practice and to improve the training program of GPs in Austria. Postulations of this request include regulated financing of training in GPs office, introducing obligatory specialization training for GPs and promoting academic research and teaching within the university system.

The methods used to achieve these aims are to influence relevant decision makers and opinion leaders, forming an alliance of stakeholders and raising awareness within the general population. The coordinated action has been launched through the collaboration of three youth organizations representing medical students and young GPs.

Starting points have been diverse and complementary actions included a petition based on common postulations, negotiations with stakeholders and published articles for national newspapers and medical journals. Furthermore the organization of a panel discussion offered the opportunity for a broad discussion between stakeholders, decision makers, policy makers and public health experts, including a video message of Professor Chris van Weel.

This advocacy campaign demonstrates the high potential of such coordinated actions which are led by youth groups and mentored by experienced senior supervisors. It further presents practical examples of successful force field analysis, alliance forming, message development and media involvement.