Practice Experience Program Specialist – Comparability Assessment Guide


1. Introduction

This guide applies to Specialist International Medical Graduates (SIMGs) who are assessed for comparability prior to seeking entry in the Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP). It describes how the RACGP assesses the set criteria that form part of a Comparability Assessment, as per the PEP SP Comparability Assessment Policy.

The RACGP will use the information and documentary evidence provided in your Comparability Assessment application to determine your comparability to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of Fellowship.

The RACGP will systematically assess the following criteria:

    1. Recency and context of practice

    2. General practice experience

    3. Continuity of practice

    4. Continuing professional development

    5. Assessment type

    6. Training route

    7. Curriculum
       

Tip

For more information on how to apply for a Comparability Assessment and the type of evidence to supply for each criterion, go to the PEP SP Application Handbook.

The RACGP will consider each criterion separately and assess how it will count towards your Comparability Assessment outcome.

There are three possible outcomes to a Comparability Assessment. You can be assessed to be:

    1. Substantially Comparable,

    2. Partially Comparable, or

    3. Not Comparable.

Important

All criteria must be assessed before the RACGP can confirm your Comparability Assessment outcome.

2. Recency and context of practice

2.1 RACGP’s assessment of recency differs from the Medical Board of Australia’s recency of practice standards.

2.2 When assessing recency, the RACGP will only consider clinical general practice experience you gained after you were awarded your primary medical qualification and completed your internship.

2.3 You must provide evidence that you have completed:

    1. 12 months (Full-Time Equivalence [FTE]) of general practice experience in the four calendar years directly preceding the Application Date (‘the Assessable Years’), and

    2. at least four weeks (FTE) of general practice experience in the 52 calendar weeks directly preceding the Application Date.

2.4 The RACGP will review the posts you undertook under 2.3.i-ii to assess your comparability to Comprehensive Australian General Practice and will assign each post a comparability rating as per the Comprehensive Australian General Practice Guide.

    1. If you have worked more than a full-time load (38 hours) per week across several posts, the RACGP will select the posts with the highest comparability ratings to make up the 38 assessable hours.

    2. To be considered in the recency assessment, Part-Time general practice experience must comprise a maximum of three separate jobs as below:

      1. Each job must include a minimum of four hours per week of face-to-face, rostered patient consultation undertaking general practice activities.

      2. One of these jobs must be in a post assessed as at least 75% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice, as per the Comprehensive Australian general practice guide.

      3. The other two jobs must be in a practice assessed as at least 50% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice, as per the Comprehensive Australian general practice guide.

      4. When combined, all jobs must add up to at least a 14.5 hour working week, over a minimum of two days per week, of which a minimum of 10.5 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities.

      5. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than four calendar weeks in any one practice, will not be considered.

    3. General practice experience may include up to four weeks of annual leave per year.

      1. If you have taken additional leave for any reason during the Assessable Years, you must still meet the requirements listed in 2.3.i-ii to fulfill the recency requirements.

2.5 The RACGP will determine how the combination of posts listed in 2.3.i-ii should be counted towards your comparability outcome based on each post’s comparability rating.

    1. Posts assessed as at least 85% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice can be counted towards recency for Substantially Comparable or Partially Comparable outcomes.

    2. Posts assessed as 75% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice can be counted towards recency for Partially Comparable outcomes, and may be counted towards recency for Substantially Comparable outcomes if you undertook them concurrently with posts assessed as per 2.5.i.

    3. Posts assessed as 50% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice cannot be counted towards recency, unless you undertook them concurrently with posts assessed as per 2.5.i or 2.5.ii.

    4. Posts assessed as Not Comparable cannot be counted towards recency.

2.6 When granting entry into the PEP SP as per the PEP SP Entry Policy, the RACGP may accommodate variations to the requirements set in 2.3.i-ii, as below:

    1. If you satisfy the requirement set in clause 2.3.i (or as varied by clause 2.6.ii) but do not meet the requirement set in clause 2.3.ii, you may still be granted entry into the PEP SP.

      1. Where entry into the PEP SP is granted, you will be required to complete an additional four weeks (FTE) in Comprehensive Australian General Practice while in the program. These extra weeks will be added to your Training Program time, but there will be no extension of your Maximum Timeframe.

    2. If you satisfy the requirement set in clause 2.3.ii (or as varied by clause 2.6.i) but do not meet the requirement set in clause 2.3.i, you may still be granted entry into the PEP SP if you have completed between nine and 12 months (FTE) of Comprehensive Australian General Practice during the Assessable Years.

      1. Where entry into the PEP SP is granted, the time difference (ie up to three months FTE of Comprehensive Australian General Practice) will be added to your Training Program time. There will be no extension of your Maximum Timeframe.

    3. If you do not meet the requirements set in clauses 2.3.i-ii, the RACGP will recommend that you make up the remaining time in the country where you are currently residing and reapply for a Comparability Assessment once you meet the recency requirements.

      1. If you have already settled in Australia, you may still be granted entry into the PEP SP at the RACGP’s discretion. You must satisfy the recency requirements as stipulated in clauses 2.3.i and 2.3.ii or as varied by clauses 2.6.i and 2.6.ii.

3. General practice experience

3.1 You must provide evidence that you have completed at least 18 months (FTE) of clinical general practice experience prior to the Application Date.

    1. Clinical general practice experience completed while in training will be accepted.

3.2 If you do not meet the criteria outlined in 3.1, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

4. Continuity of practice

4.1 You must provide a curriculum vitae listing your clinical experience spanning from graduation to the Application Date.

4.2 You must explain gaps in clinical practice greater than three calendar months.

    1. Where gaps greater than three calendar months are not explained, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

5. Continuing professional development (CPD)

5.1 You must provide evidence that you have completed 50 hours of documented CPD in the 12 calendar months prior to the Application Date.

    1. The CPD activities must be accompanied by substantive evidence showing the number of hours undertaken per activity.

5.2 If you do not meet the criteria outlined in 5.1, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

6. Assessment type

6.1 You must provide evidence that you have satisfactorily completed a summative assessment for your specialist qualification, comprising both theoretical and practical components.

    1. Summative assessments will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Substantially Comparable if they:

      1. were highly reliable and validated, and

      2. comprised both theoretical and practical components equivalent to those utilised within RACGP assessments and examinations.

    2. Summative assessments will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Partially Comparable if they were:

      1. mandated by the organisation granting the specialist qualification; but

      2. deemed not equivalent to those components utilised within RACGP assessments and examinations.

    3. If you did not complete any formal summative assessment, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

7. Training route

7.1 You must provide evidence that you have satisfactorily completed your specialist general practice qualification via a suitable training program.

    1. Training programs will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Substantially Comparable if they:

      1. were assessed as comparable to the RACGP Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program, and

      2. comprised summative assessments, formal education programs, and at least 12 months’ supervised in-practice training in a safe and supportive clinical environment in general practice.

    2. Training programs will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Partially Comparable if they:

      1. comprised work experience predominantly undertaken in practices found to be at least 75% comparable to Comprehensive Australian General Practice, as per the Comprehensive Australian general practice guide, and

      2. were assessed as significantly different to the RACGP Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program, or were undertaken via an experience-based pathway, largely comprising supervised clinical work which may or may not have included formative assessments or formal educational programs.

    3. If you received your qualification via grandfathering, reciprocal arrangements or other honorary routes, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

      1. In the case of reciprocal arrangements, the assessment would be based on the qualification you gained by initial training and assessment.

8. Curriculum

8.1 You must ensure that your curriculum has been assessed for comparability to the RACGP Curriculum and syllabus for Australian general practice.

    1. Curricula that sufficiently cover the RACGP curriculum such that you are suitable to practice in Australian general practice with only limited supervision and peer review will be assessed as substantially comparable to the RACGP curriculum.

      1. Curricula substantially comparable to the RACGP curriculum will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Substantially Comparable.

    2. Curricula with moderate gaps versus the RACGP curriculum will be assessed as partially comparable to the RACGP curriculum.

      1. Curricula partially comparable to the RACGP curriculum will be counted towards a comparability assessment outcome of Partially Comparable.

    3. Curricula with significant gaps versus the RACGP Curriculum will be assessed as not comparable to the RACGP curriculum.

      1. If you hold a curriculum that is not comparable to the RACGP curriculum, you will be deemed Not Comparable regardless of how other criteria have been assessed.

9. Glossary

9.1 Applicant

The SIMG applying for a Comparability Assessment as part of their application for entry into the PEP SP.

9.2 Application Date

The day the Applicant signs the initial statutory declaration in their Comparability Assessment application.

9.3 Assessable Years

The four calendar years directly preceding the Application Date.

9.4 Comparable / Comparability

The extent to which an SIMG’s recency, continuity of practice, continual professional development, assessment, training, qualifications and clinical experience are assessed as equivalent to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of admission to Fellowship.

9.5 Comparability Assessment

The process of determining the extent to which an SIMG is comparable to an Australian-trained general practitioner at the point of admission to Fellowship.

9.6 Comprehensive Australian General Practice

As defined in the Comprehensive Australian General Practice Guide.

9.7 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

      i.        Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), or

     ii.        FRACGP and Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG).

9.8 Full-Time general practice experience

A 38-hour working week, over a minimum of four days per week. A minimum of 27 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or less than 4 calendar weeks in any one practice, will not be considered. Hours worked beyond this definition of full time will not be considered.

9.9 Maximum Timeframe

The maximum amount of time a Participant can remain on the PEP SP from the day they start their Training Program to the day they are admitted to Fellowship of the RACGP.
  1. Substantially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 12 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program. Their maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.
  2. Partially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved Practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 48 calendar months of starting their training program. The maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.

9.10 Part-Time general practice experience

Calculated pro-rata against the definition of full-time general practice experience. Part-time general practice must comprise a minimum of 14.5-hour working week, over a minimum of two days per week. A minimum of 10.5 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than four calendar weeks in any one practice, will not be considered.

9.11 Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP)

The route to Fellowship available to SIMGs who have been assessed as Substantially Comparable or Partially Comparable to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of admission to Fellowship.

9.12 Specialist International Medical Graduate (SIMG)

An overseas-trained medical practitioner who:
  1. holds a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS),
  2. has satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise as a specialist general practitioner and has been awarded a specialist general practice qualification in their country of origin, and
  3. had their specialist general practice qualification’s curriculum assessed by the RACGP as comparable or partially comparable to the RACGP curriculum and syllabus for Australian general practice.

9.13 Training Program

The six-calendar-month period that starts from the day the Participant commences work in Australia in an RACGP-approved Practice. Participants must complete the program requirements within this six-calendar-month timeframe.


10. Related documents

 
Version Date of effect Amended by
1 01/07/2024 Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details  

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