Preparing for employment
Complete an employment agreement
While in the FSP, you’re responsible for your employment arrangements and conditions at your approved practice. The RACGP is not responsible for your employment conditions.
Before commencing at a practice, you’ll need to finalise your agreement and employment terms and conditions. You should get in contact with the practice manager or relevant administrative staff member to start the process so that your employment agreement will be in place before the term begins.
Apply for a Medicare provider number
It is vital that you have a Medicare provider number before you start working at a new general practice. If you’re already working in general practice, we will still need to either transition your existing provider number across to an RACGP FSP provider number or authorise the issuing of a new RACGP FSP provider number.
Your provider number gives your patients access to Medicare rebates for all or part of their healthcare. This means that you cannot access Medicare rebates if you don’t have a provider number, and any time you spend working without a provider number can’t be counted as training time.
Your application for a Medicare provider number must be completed via the RACGP process; you cannot apply directly to Services Australia. Applications sent directly to Services Australia will delay the process and mean you may be issued a provider number on a lower rebate percentage.
We’ll send you the FSP Provider Number Application Form as part of the entry process. The form needs to be completed by both you and the practice, and it needs to be printed and physically signed before being submitted to us electronically. We’ll make sure the form is complete and we’ll submit it to Services Australia on your behalf; you’ll be notified once we have sent it to Services Australia.
There will be strict timelines for you to follow to ensure you receive your Medicare provider number in time for the beginning of your placement. Services Australia will process your application and send your provider number to you by mail; when you receive it, please provide a copy to the RACGP Provider Number team. Please check that you’ve been issued the correct type of provider number that allows patients to obtain rebates.
What if I work in multiple placements?
A Medicare provider number uniquely identifies both you and the place you work. You must have a separate provider number for each training site (eg branches of your practice, associated hospitals). You can’t use a single Medicare provider number across multiple training sites. The RACGP will issue no more than two provider numbers, unless you’re working across three branch practices. For each branch practice where you work, we will need to assess some additional requirements, including that:
- services provided are consistent with comprehensive general practice
- practices have the same ownership
- practices share patient databases
- practices share booking and medical record systems
- practices share staff (doctors work across both practices).
How long does it take to get a Medicare provider number?
We’ll send you the Provider Number Application Form as part of the placement process. We encourage you to complete the form and return it to us promptly. All applications are processed in the order they are received and are sent through to Services Australia within a statutory period of 28 days. This period commences from the date the application is received by the RACGP. Services Australia then follows the same process.
If you haven’t received any communication from Services Australia after the statutory 28-day period, please let us know and we can make enquiries on your behalf.
Medicare cannot and will not backdate applications received after you have commenced work. Be sure to have your provider number before you begin your placement.
What happens if I don’t receive a Medicare provider number in time for my placement?
If you don’t have a provider number, it may mean you can’t start work, as your patients won’t be able to claim the Medicare rebate.
What if I change training sites?
If you change training sites, you must apply for a new provider number. We’ll send you a new Medicare provider number application form. Be sure to apply early and allow plenty of time for your new provider number to be issued.
Will my practice and the RACGP be notified of my Medicare provider number?
No. Services Australia will only send your provider number to you. It is your responsibility to notify your practice and the RACGP of your provider number as soon as you receive it, to ensure you’re able to start at your placement as planned.
How long is my Medicare provider number valid?
The RACGP authorises provider number end dates to be six months beyond the education component of your FSP. We will help you ensure that your Medicare provider number remains valid for the education and post-education components of your FSP, providing you continue to meet training progression requirements and the practice complies with the General practice fellowship program placement guidelines. If we withdraw you from the FSP or you withdraw voluntarily, your provider number will be cancelled.
It is your responsibility to monitor when your Medicare provider number is due to expire; the RACGP will not issue reminders.
Complete an orientation to the training site
When you start a new placement, your primary supervisor or practice team member should give you an orientation to the site, including:
- introducing you to all members of staff
- teaching you how to use practice systems
- telling you where to find relevant resources, including reference materials, medications, and equipment
- telling you about relevant policies, procedures, and processes in the practice, such as referral, admission to hospital, after-hours arrangements, follow-up of patients, sterilisation, prescribing Schedule 8 medications and disposal of waste.