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Extensions of Program Time Policy


Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the extensions of Program Time available to Registrars.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. Registrars enrolled in the:

      1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, and

      2. Fellowship Support Program (FSP), and

    2. RACGP Staff.

2.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the relevant Registrar handbooks and staff training manuals.

2.3 This policy replaces the previous AGPT Program Extensions Policy and related regional training organisation policies and will come into effect on the first day of the first term of the Training Program in 2023. For the avoidance of doubt, to the extent that there is inconsistency between the previous policies and this policy, the terms of this policy apply.

3. General principles

3.1 As per the Training Program Requirements Policy, the RACGP expects all Registrars to attain Fellowship within the specified Program Time cap relevant to the Training Program they are enrolled in.

3.2 The RACGP recognises Registrars may need additional Program Time to fulfil their requirements for Fellowship. However, Registrars are not automatically entitled to extensions of Program Time.

3.3 Registrars can only access extensions of Program Time beyond an initial 26 calendar weeks in Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances.

4. Request for extension of Program Time

4.1 The Registrar may request an extension of Program Time:

    1. while awaiting Fellowship,

    2. for training and assessment purposes,

    3. to undertake an approved Academic Post (AGPT program only),

    4. to transition to another program (from the AGPT program only), and

    5. to further extend their Program Time.

4.2 The RACGP may apply special emergency extensions of Program Time in Emergency Situations.

4.3 The Registrar must submit their request for an extension of Program Time a minimum of 20 Business Days prior to the requested start date of the extension.

4.4 The RACGP will notify the Registrar of the outcome of a completed request for extension within 20 Business Days, including the reasons, where applicable, for the submission being declined.

5. Types of extension

There are six categories of extension of Program Time:

5.1 Extension awaiting Fellowship

    1. Where the Registrar has met their Fellowship requirements as per the Requirements for Fellowship Policy  but has not yet submitted their application for Fellowship, the RACGP will automatically apply a one-off extension of up to 12 calendar weeks.

      1. Where the ADF Registrar has completed their Fellowship requirements while on deployment, they may apply for approval of a one-off extension of up to 12 calendar weeks from the date of their return from that deployment.

    2. Where the Registrar has circumstances delaying their Fellowship application for longer than 12 calendar weeks, they can apply for a further extension.

      1. Generally, the RACGP will grant this type of extension for a maximum of 26 calendar weeks.

      2. The RACGP will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

5.2 Extension for training and assessment purposes

    1. Where the Registrar requires an extension of Program Time to satisfactorily meet the requirements of their stage of training or to sit or re-sit Fellowship Exams, they may apply for an extension of Program Time for an initial period of 26 calendar weeks. Program Time may be extended for the following purposes:

      1. to satisfactorily meet the requirements of their stage of training,

      2. to sit or re-sit Fellowship Exams and await the results, or

      3. following an extended period of leave, to allow them to regain an appropriate level of competence prior to recommencing their training.

    2. Registrars training towards the RACGP Rural Generalist Fellowship have access to an additional 52 calendar weeks, which may be a combination of extension for training for assessment purposes and Category 2 leave (as per the Leave Policy).

5.3 Extension to undertake an approved Academic Post (AGPT program only)

    1. The Registrar may apply for an extension of up to 26 calendar weeks to undertake an approved Academic Post.

    2. Only Registrars accepted onto an approved Academic Post can apply for an extension under this category.

    3. An extension will only be granted if a registrar has 26 weeks (FTE) of Core Vocational Training Time remaining.

5.4 Extension to transition (AGPT program only)

    1. The RACGP will automatically extend an AGPT Registrar’s Program Time if the Registrar has been accepted into the FSP.

    2. AGPT Registrars can apply for an extension of up to 26 calendar weeks to transition to the FSP or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s Independent Pathway.

5.5 Further extension of Program Time

    1. Registrars who require a further extension of Program Time can apply for an additional extension if all other allowances in this policy have been exhausted.

    2. Reasons for further extensions of Program Time being considered include, but are not limited to:

      1. cultural needs, considerations and commitments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Registrars,

      2. Special Circumstances for International Medical Graduates,

      3. Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances experienced by the Registrar or their Significant Family Relations, and

      4. as part of an Approved Remediation Term as per the Registrar Support and Remediation Policy to ensure all Education and Training Requirements are met.

5.6 Special emergency extensions of Program Time

    1. The RACGP has the discretion to activate special emergency extensions of Program Time in Emergency Situations.

    2. The RACGP will determine the terms of special emergency extensions of Program Time in each individual Emergency Situation.

    3. The RACGP will contact Registrars should they be eligible for special emergency extensions of Program Time.

    4. Special emergency extensions of Program Time will not contribute towards the Registrar’s Program Time and will not be counted within the Registrar’s Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy.

6. Amendment of this policy

The Censor-in-Chief (CiC) may, without the consent of the RACGP Board, make Minor, Moderate and Consequential Amendments to this policy at any time.

If the CiC makes amendments, they must advise the RACGP Board of those amendments as soon as practicable.

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

7. Responsibilities

7.1 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving Minor Amendments
  2. Approving Moderate Amendments
  3. Approving Consequential Amendments

7.2 RACGP

  1. Assessing and approving extensions of Program Time where appropriate
  2. Enacting special extensions of Program Time
  3. Notifying the Registrar of the outcome within 20 Business Days of the completed request being received

7.3 RACGP Board

  1. Approving Major Amendments

7.4 Registrars

  1. Submitting requests for an extension 20 Business Days prior to the start of the requested period of extension.

 

8. Glossary

8.1 Academic Post

A 0.5 FTE research and medical education term undertaken as part of the AGPT program over 52 calendar weeks.

8.2 Approved Remediation Term

A term in which the Registrar receives additional support requiring funding and suspension of Program Time in order to address performance concerns.

8.3 Business Day

A day when both the RACGP national and relevant regional offices are operating.

8.4 Consequential Amendment

An amendment that requires urgent implementation as a necessary result of an amendment to another policy or process.

8.5 Education and Training Requirements

The mandatory components of the Registrar's RACGP-Approved Program as defined in the relevant Registrar handbook.

8.6 Emergency Situations

A situation the RACGP determines impacts a certain cohort of Registrar that requires additional allowances beyond the usual scope of policy. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. pandemics, and
  2. extreme weather events.

8.7 Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances

Circumstances which are outside the Registrar control and can reasonably be considered to have been unforeseen, and can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the Registrar. The RACGP considers Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

8.8 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

  1. Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), or
  2. FRACGP and Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG).

8.9 Fellowship Exams

The exams run by the RACGP to assess the Candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia, including:

  1. Applied Knowledge Test (AKT),
  2. Key Feature Problem (KFP), and
  3. Clinical Examination, which depending on the time of sitting, is the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), Remote Clinical Exam (RCE) or Clinical Competency Exam (CCE).

8.10 Full-Time Equivalence

The RACGP determines FTE to mean 38 hours per week and includes all practice time, education, and Training Program activities – the composition of which will vary depending upon the Registrar stage of training.

8.11 Major Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of the policy but is not otherwise a Minor or Moderate Amendment (ie a change to one major clause or policy review).

8.12 Minor Amendment

An amendment to style, to correct grammatical mistakes, change overall formatting, make updates that do not materially change meaning, or any other amendment, which in the opinion of the Censor-in-Chief, does not materially alter the operation of the policy. 

8.13 Moderate Amendments

An amendment that materially changes the operation of a policy by a limited amount (ie a change to one minor clause, or changes that have a limited impact on the outcome of the policy).

8.14 Program Time

The length of time required to complete an RACGP-Approved Program.

8.15 RACGP-Approved Program

An education or Training Program approved by the RACGP as a suitable avenue to Fellowship, including the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training Program,
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme,
  3. Fellowship Support Program,
  4. Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream
  5. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable

Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Substantially Comparable specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cwlth) .

8.16 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

8.17 Registrar

The medical practitioner enrolled in the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, 
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), or
  3. Fellowship Support Program (FSP).

8.18 Significant Family Relations

Anyone with whom the Registrar has close familial relations. This may include, but is not limited to, a parent, sibling, spouse/partner/de facto/fiancé(e), child, grandparent and community member.

8.19  Special Circumstances for International Medical Graduates

These circumstances are determined on a case-by-case basis by the RACGP and include, but are not limited to:

  1. communication skills development, and
  2. supported learning.

8.20 Training Program

Either the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, or
  2. Fellowship Support Program (FSP).


9. Related documents, legislation and policies 

10. Policy review and currency

This policy will be reviewed every three calendar years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy. This policy remains valid and applicable notwithstanding if it is overdue for review.

 

 

Version

Date of effect

Amended by

3

02 May 2023

Education Policy and Guidance Coordinator

Amendment details

  • Minor updates to titles of policies:
    • 5.i.1     Requirements for Fellowship Policy
    • 9            Dispute, Reconsideration and Appeals Policy

2

The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Addition of clause 5.3.iii relating to Academic Post extension of program time.

1

The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Generally, extensions will be granted in up to 26 calendar week periods
  • Updated reference of ‘training time’ to program time to be more inclusive of all stages of the Training Programs
  • Removed numbering of categories and instead refer to ‘types’
  • The extension allowance accommodated in the AGPT Program COVID-19 Support Policy has been transferred to ‘Special emergency extensions of program time’ to allow for situations where the RACGP may need to provide additional extensions to Registrars affected by emergency situations.

Policy owner:

RACGP Board

Approved by:

RACGP Board

Approved on:

31/01/2023

Next review due:

06/2025

 

 



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