North Queensland doctor to head GP peak body

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

Doctor Nicole Higgins becomes RACGP president in November
Doctor Nicole Higgins becomes RACGP president in November

Mackay GP, Nicole Higgins, has been appointed president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australia’s peak body for general practice.

Doctor Higgins has worked as a GP in urban and rural Australia, and owns a teaching practice in Mackay, north Queensland.

She’s looking forward to representing GPs, who she said are an undervalued resource.

“General practice is the most cost-effective way of keeping Australians healthy. GPs save lives and prevent illness.

“For too long, the role of general practice has been undervalued, oversimplified, and de-funded. Without general practice, the system fails.

“As a grass roots GP, practice owner, supervisor, working parent and primary caregiver, I understand the stressors that GPs face, and I am determined to be a strong and loud advocate for the changes we need.

“Now is the time to stand up as a profession and make our mark.

“Australia’s leaders need to stop talking about change and start making the change.

“We don’t need lip service, we need action. I intend to fight hard for the future of world class care in our country, care that is accessible to everyone, no matter their postcode or income.”

Doctor Higgins will take over from current president, Karen Price, in November. Adjunct Professor Price said she will be a strong advocate.

“We have come a long way in a short space of time, but there is still much to be done.

“The pandemic is not over, and at the same time, years of underfunding and neglect have put general practice in crisis.

“The lost decades of underinvestment in general practice have also led to the GP workforce shortage, which is particularly severe in rural and remote communities.

“We do have a significant opportunity to make a difference here.

“This means re-thinking healthcare funding in Australia, which is skewed to focus on treating illness, rather than preventing it.

“I am confident Doctor Higgins will take the challenges head on.”