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Becoming a GP in Australia

Specialist Pathway Program (SPP)

Changes to the Specialist Pathway Program

The Medical Board of Australia is making changes to the specialist pathway for international medical graduates (IMGs) recognised as specialists in their country of origin. The changes are aimed at streamlining the assessment process for IMGs.

From 1 July 2014, specialist IMGs who wish to join the RACGP’s Specialist Pathway Program must apply directly to the RACGP, not the AMC, for categorisation of their comparability to an Australian trained GP.

IMGs are still required to submit an application for ECFMG International Credentials Services (EICS) primary source verification of their qualifications through the Australian Medical Council (AMC).  EICS verification will need to be received in relation to the specialist GP qualification before RACGP will finalise their categorisation.

You should refer to the AMC website for information on how to apply for primary source verification. 

The changes commence on 1 July 2014.

Further information will be available on this website in the coming months.

The SPP is part of a nationally agreed assessment and registration process developed in conjunction with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA), the Australian Medical Council (AMC), the Australian Department of Health and Ageing and the Royal Australian College of general Practitioners (the College) . The SPP provides a pathway to FRACGP for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) based on an assessment of their previous training and experience in general practice.

Once SPP candidates have been admitted to Fellowship of the RACGP, they are entitled to apply for entry on the Fellows list.  This gives doctors the right to deliver general practice unsupervised to the Australian community and access the higher rebates under Medicare, the national health insurance scheme.

How to apply:

You should review the following categories of qualifications which will help you make a 'self-categorisation' to determine:

  • whether or not you may be eligible to apply to the SPP
  • what Category you may be eligible for
  • how to submit an initial application to the Australian Medical Council (AMC).

Please note that a 'self-categorisation' is a guide only and the College will make all final eligibility and categorisation decisions. If a new pathway to any of the qualifications listed is introduced applications may not be accepted as the categories listed. The College may at any time vary the qualifications or categorisations listed.

Category 1 IMGs

If you have one of the below qualifications you may be categorised as a Category 1 IMG, or as an eligible applicant for Fellowship ad Eundem Gradum (FAEG). Please note that any of the qualifications listed gained through "grandfathering" or reciprocal arrangements may not be accepted for FAEG and documentation of training and assessment will be requested.  For Doctors holding UK qualifications please see below:

Canada Certificate in Family Medicine from College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) + Evidence of The Canadian Qualifying Examination Part 1 and Certification Examination in Family Medicine post 2013

At this time the alternative pathway to Certification is under review to determine it's placement in the SPP. Applications may be delayed during this period of consideration 
Ireland Graduate of ICGP through passing the MICGP Examination holding MICGP membership
New Zealand Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (FRNZCGP) via the General Practice Education Programme (GPEP)
Singapore Fellowship with the College of Family Physicians

To find out about the Category 1 requirements please refer to the "Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 1 – Categorisation".

Category 2 IMGs

If you hold one of the qualifications below you are considered to be at the level of an Australian-trained advanced trainee in general practice however still require further training/supervised practice and assessment to be regarded as fully comparable.

IMGs with existing Australian medical registration generally will not meet the eligibility criteria for entry into the SPP, however may be able to complete the College Fellowship assessment requirements via the College Practice Eligible Pathway.

Belgium Specialist Certificate in General Practice / Family Medicine
Canada Certificate in Family Practice from the College of Family Physicians of Canada
Denmark Specialist Certificate in Family Medicine
Netherlands Certificate of Specific Training for General Practice
New Zealand Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (FRNZCGP) via Experiential Interim Pathway (EIP)
Norway Certificate of Specific Training for General Medical Practice
Singapore Master of Medicine in Family Medicine
South Africa Member of The College of Family Practitioners of the South African College of General Practice
South Africa Registration as a Family Physician with the Health Professions Council of South Africa
South Africa Master of Family Medicine
South Africa Master of Prax Medicine
Sweden Certificate of Specific Training for General Practice
USA Certificate of the American Board of Family Practice

To find out about the Category 2 requirements please refer to the "Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 1 – Categorisation".

Category 2 Doctors are required to complete a FICPI and a learning plan.  Please see “Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 2 - Fitness for Intended Clinical Practice Interview” and “Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 3 – Learning program” for further information.

UK doctors

The RACGP only accepts applications as Category 1 for doctors who achieved their MRCGP qualification via examination, combined with the other qualification as listed below. 

Candidates who achieved MRCGP via iMAP, or candidates who have iMAP but not one of the other qualifications, will be categorised as Category 2.
Please see the below table for further information

Qualification heldCategory
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners holding the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) certificate via prescribed experience 1
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners holding the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) certificate via equivalent experience 1 or 2, assessed on a case by case basis
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners holding the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) issued by the Post Graduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) or the General Medical Council (GMC) 1
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners holding the Certificate of Eligibility for GP registration (CEGPR) 1 or 2, assessed on a case by case basis
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners via iMAP holding the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) certificate via prescribed OR equivalent experience 2
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners via iMAP holding the CCT issued by the PMETB or the GMC 2
Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners 2
JCPTGP certificate via prescribed experience 2
JCPTGP certificate via equivalent experience 2
CCT issued by the PMETB or the GMC 2
CCT issued by the PMETB 2
CEGPR 2

Category 3 IMGs

Approved:

If you hold qualifications in general practice from the countries listed below you are considered to be at a level equivalent to an Australian trained basic trainee in general practice and as such require further training/supervised practice and assessment to be regarded as fully comparable.

If you hold an approved Category 3 qualification you may be able to enrol in the AKT during the next enrolment intake period.  Please note medical registration requirements for this group are under negotiation with various medical boards.

Austria
Croatia
Estonia
Finland
France (post 2007 VT)
Germany
Latvia
Malta (post 2007 VT)
Portugal
Spain
Turkey
MRCGP[INT]

Under consideration (no automatic approval):

Candidates holding qualifications from the following countries may apply for entry into Category 3 provided they can provide information of their training requirements (including syllabus), assessment processes, and time undertaken in general practice and hospitals, along with any further information about becoming a general practitioner. The censor will assess any application on a case by case basis on the information provided.

Brazil, Cuba, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia(MFM), Russia (Family Practitioner), Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, UAE (Dubai)

To find out about the Category 3 requirements please refer to the "Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 1 – Categorisation".

Category 3 Doctors are required to complete a FICPI and a learning plan.  Please see “Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 2 - Fitness for Intended Clinical Practice Interview” and “Specialist Pathway Program Chapter 3 – Learning program” for further information.

Not comparable

If an applicant’s qualifications are determined to be not comparable to those of an Australian-trained general practitioner, the IMG is categorised as ‘not comparable’.

If an applicant feels their experience should be categorised as training for the specialty of general practice and/or that they have undertaken assessment to work as a specialist in general practice the IMG should write to the RACGP making a claim supported by evidence. If applicable, all evidence, including qualifications, transcripts, evidence from websites, etc, must be translated into English. Evidence should be from the time the IMG was trained or assessed and include at least the following:

  • A description of the health care system including the role of general practice in the country of training
  • A copy of the curriculum the training entailed
  • A copy of the educational standards to which the training program was delivered to
  • Certified copy of completion of training certificate/diploma, etc.

For consideration for Category 2 or 1 classification the following is also needed:

  • official documentation that provides an account of the assessment process used
  • A certified copy of any qualification obtained after assessment.

The RACGP submits a report to the applicant (and simultaneously to the AMC) advising of comparability status (i.e. not comparable).  If the applicant has been determined not to be comparable, the application for specialist assessment is discontinued. 

The AMC may then advise the IMG on alternative courses of action.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) ABN 34 000 223 807
RACGP House, 100 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002 Australia

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