Placement process and employment procedures
General practice placements begin on commencement of the FSP, however, some registrars will already be working in general practice before starting the program.
Complete an employment agreement
On commencement of the FSP, the registrar will be asked to complete an individual program agreement. Similarly, the training site and supervisor will be asked to sign an agreement with the RACGP. The agreement includes details of the placement, employment, supervision, education, and training. All parties must agree to and sign these agreements before the term begins.
If the registrar needs any help with this process, their training coordinator can support them. If you require help to complete the agreement, you can contact the RACGP. General Practice Supervisors Australia (GPSA) also has helpful information on their website.
While in the FSP, the registrar is responsible for their employment arrangements and conditions at their approved practice. The RACGP has no jurisdiction with regards to employment conditions for FSP registrars. Employment arrangements must be finalised with the FSP registrar before they begin their program, if the registrar is not already working in your practice.
Apply for a Medicare provider number
It is vital that your registrar has a Medicare provider number before starting work. If they're already working in general practice, we'll still need to either transition their existing provider number across to an RACGP FSP provider number or authorise a new RACGP FSP provider number to be issued. A provider number gives patients access to Medicare rebates for all or part of their healthcare. This means that if a provider number hasn't been issued, Medicare rebates can't be accessed, and any time a registar works without a provider number can't be counted as training time.
Applications for a Medicare provider number must be completed via the RACGP process; applications can't be made directly to Services Australia. The registrar will be sent the FSP Provider Number Application Form when they are offered a place in the FSP.
The form needs to be completed by both the registrar and the training site, and it needs to be printed and physically signed before being electronically submitted to us. We’ll make sure the form is complete and will submit it to Services Australia on behalf of the registrar who will be notified once it has been sent.
There will be strict timelines for to follow to ensure the provider number is issued in time (or remains current). Services Australia will process the application and send the Medicare provider number to the registrar by mail.
What if a registrar works in multiple placements?
A Medicare provider number uniquely identifies both the registrar and their place of work. They must have a separate provider number for each training site (e.g. branches of your practice, associated hospitals). A single Medicare provider number can't be used across multiple training sites. We won't issue more than two provider numbers unless the registrar is working across three branch practices. If your training site has multiple branches, there are additional requirements, including that:
- the services provided at each branch are consistent with comprehensive general practice
- the practices have the same owner
- there is a shared patient database
- there are shared booking and medical record systems
- there are shared staff (doctors work across the branches).
How long does it take to get a Medicare provider number?
We process applications in the order they are received and send them 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 your registrar hasn’t received any communication from Services Australia after the statutory 28-day period, they should let us know and we can make enquiries on their behalf.
Services Australia cannot and will not backdate applications received after the registrar has commenced work (if it is a new practice location).
Will the training site and the RACGP be notified of the registrar’s Medicare provider number?
No. Services Australia will only send a provider number to the registrar. It is the registrar’s responsibility to notify their training site and us of their provider number as soon as they receive it, to ensure they can commence or continue working at their training site.
How long is a Medicare provider number valid?
The RACGP authorises provider number end dates to be six months after the education component of the FSP is completed. We will help the registrar ensure that their Medicare provider number remains valid for the education and post-education components of the FSP, providing they continue to meet training progression requirements and that the training site complies with the General practice Fellowship placement guidelines. If the registrar is withdrawn from the FSP or withdraws voluntarily, their provider number will be cancelled.
It is the registrar’s responsibility to monitor when their Medicare provider number is due to expire; the RACGP doesn’t issue reminders.
Pre-existing personal relationship between practice staff and registrar
A pre-existing personal relationship between a registrar and a member of staff at their training site could create a conflict of interest, particularly if that person were a supervisor, practice manager or practice owner.
If anyone at your practice has any type of close personal or dependent relationship with your FSP registrar, you must disclose this to us as a potential conflict of interest at the start of the program. Examples include spousal/partner relationships and visa sponsorship arrangements.