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Fellowship Policy


1.  Purpose

Our purpose is to ensure a strong GP profession that keeps Australia healthy. The actions of Members reflect on the character of the RACGP and other members. RACGP Fellowship is a highly esteemed and respected institution, and the RACGP is an organisation with a significant reputation for quality.

The RACGP is committed to the highest standards of behaviour through the actions of its Members and employees. Members of the College must observe and maintain the highest possible standards of behaviour and ethics and treat all Members of the College community with fairness, dignity, and respect. Fellows must uphold the integrity of the profession of General Practice.

This Policy sets out the standards of behaviour expected from Fellows in order to maintain confidence in the behaviour of Fellows and preserve the RACGP’s good name, and the name of all members, and support it to achieve its strategic objectives. All Fellows must be aware of the expected standards of their conduct. Lack of awareness of this Policy is not of itself any defence to an allegation of breach.

Fellowship of the RACGP is a privilege which comes with a responsibility to maintain the high standards expected by the RACGP.

To this extent, the RACGP must ensure only those persons worthy of Fellowship commence on the RACGP Fellowship pathway or hold Fellowship.

This Policy outlines the circumstances under which Fellowship may be granted and what disciplinary action may be taken against Fellows and what those actions may comprise.

This Policy is a Code prescribed by the Board under clause 27(b) of the RACGP Constitution.

Accordingly, this Policy describes conduct which, in the opinion of the Board, triggers the ability to censure, suspend or expel a Member.

2.  Application

This policy applies to:

    • any person applying for enrolment, or enrolled in any pathway leading to RACGP Fellowship;
    • all existing Fellows of the RACGP (including Honorary Fellows); and
    • any other person applying for Fellowship, including any person re-applying.

Where a person the subject of this policy is also subject to any number of other RACGP Codes of Conduct, for the purposes of interpretation and the avoidance of doubt, in the case of any conflict between the Codes, the conflict is to be resolved by applying the relevant part of the Code with the highest or more stringent standards of behaviour.

This policy is to be read together with the Membership Code of Conduct, Terms of Reference of the Professional Standards Committee, Appeals Policy and the RACGP Constitution, and in particular:

    • Part 2.1 – Classes of Membership;
    • Part 2.6 – Honorary Fellowship; and
    • Part 4 – Termination of Membership.

3.  Eligibility for Fellowship

Fellowship is a privilege, and this section outlines minimum standards which applicants for fellowship must reach.

3.1 Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Any person who is a Fellow or is applying to become a Fellow must:

    1. comply with the Membership Code of Conduct at all times; and
    2.  comply with the Practitioner Code of Conduct obligations at all times.

3.2 Additional Eligibility Requirements – Pathway Requirements

Any person who is applying to become a Fellow must, in addition to the requirements in clause 3.1:

    1. complete such training or experience in general practice as is approved by the Board from time to time in accordance with clause 8 of the RACGP Constitution
    2. be proposed for Fellowship by a Fellow who has recent knowledge of the applicant in accordance with clause 8 of the RACGP Constitution
    3. satisfy the Board of their proficiency in general practice by such examination or assessment as prescribed by regulation in accordance with clause 8 of the RACGP Constitution; 
    4. fulfil Continuing Professional Development requirements; and 
    5. comply with the attestation requirements in clause 4.3.

4.  Admission to Fellowship 

4.1 Inadmissible Applicants

The Board must not admit any person to Fellowship who:

    1. is not a member of the RACGP; 
    2. has been convicted in the last ten years of any indictable offence against the person or any offence which includes the need to prove dishonesty in any Australian jurisdiction or overseas jurisdiction; 
    3. has in the last ten years been suspended or removed from the Register of Medical Practitioners by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (Ahpra); or 
    4. deliberately includes misleading information in their application for membership or Fellowship. 

4.2 Admissible Applicants

The Board may in its full discretion admit any eligible person to Fellowship. In exercising that discretion, the Board must consider:

    1. whether the eligible person is or has been subject to any disciplinary action or adverse finding by any tribunal, court, regulatory body or other agency in any jurisdiction and if so, the reasons for those actions or findings and the time since the action or adverse finding; 
    2. whether the eligible person is or has been suspended or removed from the Register of Medical Practitioners held by Ahpra or had conditions of any nature inconsistent with their ability to practise as a specialist GP imposed at any time; 
    3. whether the eligible person has restrictions, conditions or undertakings on their current medical registration that prevent them undertaking unsupervised or comprehensive practice in which case the RACGP reserves the right to withhold the award of the Fellowship; 
    4. whether the eligible person is or has been charged or convicted of any indictable offence against any Australian law; 
    5. whether the eligible person is or has been charged or convicted of any offence against any Australian law which includes the need to prove dishonesty and if so, what offence and when it was purported to have occurred; 
    6. whether the eligible person is or has been declared bankrupt or been the subject of any order under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (C’th); 
    7. whether the eligible person is or has been a director or executive officer of a corporation which became insolvent whilst a director or executive officer; 
    8. the risk that the RACGP may have its reputation affected or tarnished by admitting a person who is or could be perceived to be inappropriate; 
    9. any failure by the eligible person to comply fully with clause 4.4; and 
    10. any other considerations the Board deems relevant. 

4.3 Attestations

All applications for Fellowship must include an attestation signed by the applicant:

    1. as to the applicant’s good character; 
    2. confirming that the applicant satisfies the eligibility requirements in clause 3.1 and 3.2; 
    3. disclosing all information relevant to the application including information enabling the Board to exercise its discretion under clause 4.2; 
    4. that all the information provided as part of the application is true, complete and correct; 
    5. confirming that the applicant will comply with all RACGP policies which apply to them; and 
    6. countersigned by the Fellow proposing the applicant for Fellowship. 

Failure to disclose all relevant information in an attestation to enable the Board to assess the application is a breach of the Membership Code of Conduct and will make an applicant unable to meet the minimum eligibility requirement in clause 3.1.

4.4 Further Information

The Board may at any time:

    1. request any additional information from an applicant to determine whether to admit them to fellowship; 
    2. investigate any applicant in relation to their application.

Where the Board exercises any power under clauses 4.4 (a) or (b), an applicant must comply fully with any request or investigation commenced by the Board.

5.  Disciplinary Action and Disciplinary Proceedings 

A failure to adhere to the standards in this Policy may have consequences for a Fellow. This section, and section 6 of the Membership Code of Conduct outline the processes involved where a Fellow transgresses this Policy and what possible consequences there may be.

5.1 Application of Sections 5 and 6 of the Membership Code of Conduct to Fellows

Sections 5 and 6 of the Membership Code of Conduct applies to Fellows as if references to Members in that policy were references to Fellows.

Any Fellow, who:

    • as a result of a disciplinary proceeding has their membership of the RACGP terminated; or 
    • otherwise ceases to be a member of the RACGP;
    • loses the entitlement to use the post nominal “FRACGP”.

6.  Amendment of this Policy

The Board may make amendments to this policy at any time. 

7.  Responsibilities 

   

Board

Responsible for approval of policy and amendments.

 

8.  Glossary

Fellow

means a Fellow under clause 110(a)(xvi) of the Constitution.

Member

means a member under clause 110(a)(xxi) of the Constitution.

Practitioner Code of Conduct

the Code of Conduct titled “Good Medical practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia” or equivalent issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) or its successor under section 39 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Register

means the register of any medical or professional authority recognised by the RACGP Board, including that of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

RACGP Code of Conduct

includes the

  • Staff Code of Conduct;
  • Membership Code of Conduct;
  • Directors’ Code of Conduct; and
  • any other policy which regulates a person’s behaviour.

Staff

means any employee or contractor of the RACGP

 

 9. Related Documents, Legislation and Policies

Appeals Policy

Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia 

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law

Membership Code of Conduct

RACGP Constitution

Terms of Reference of the Professional Standards Committee

Compliance

N/A

Guidance

N/A

10. Transitional

This Policy supercedes and replaces the Fit and Proper Fellow Policy and the Readmission to Membership Policy.

11. Policy Review and Currency 

This policy will be reviewed every three years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy.
Version History

Release Notice

Version

Date of effect

Amendment details

Amended by

1.0

 

Initial release

 

Policy owner:

Board

Approved by:

Board                 

Approved on:

18 Aug 2022

Next Review Due:

Aug 2025

 

 



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