1. Practice Experience Program Post-Education Progression Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0055.0
1.2 Category: Education
1.3 Approval date: August 2019
1.4 Revision due date: August 2020
1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services
2. Policy declaration
The RACGP Practice Experience Program Standard Stream (PEP Standard) has been developed to provide non-vocationally recognised doctors with a route to Fellowship grounded in individualised learning and workplace based assessment.
The post-education phase of the PEP Standard requires participants to meet the terms of this policy, in order to maintain access to a PEP 3GA Medicare Provider Number following completion of the educational phase of the program.
3. Objective and scope
The aim of this policy is to describe the requirements to be fulfilled by participants in the post-education/exam candidacy phase of the PEP Standard, with regards to access to a provider number.
This policy applies to all participants of the PEP Standard following completion of the Program’s educational phase, and covers requirements relating to progression, leave from the program, extension to and withdrawal of a provider number.
For the purposes of this policy:
For more information regarding leave for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances leave, please see the Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances Guidelines.
- CPD means Continuing Professional Development
- Educational phase means the program time during which participants complete learning units and workplace-based assessment requirements
- Extension means continued provider number access beyond the three years of post-education provider number access given upon satisfactory completion of the educational component of the participant’s program
- Extenuating and unforeseen circumstances means circumstances which were unforeseen, outside the participant’s control and which can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the participant’s ability to complete the PEP exam candidacy requirements, including:
- ill-health (other than minor illnesses) with valid certificates;
- carer’s leave with valid certificates;
- acute adverse life circumstances;
- Australian Defence Force deployment leave;
- Loss of employment, medical registration or provider number; or
- Other circumstances involving significant changes to a participant’s circumstances
- Fellowship exams means individually and collectively (as appropriate) the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), Key Feature Problem (KFP) and Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), and Exams bears the corresponding meaning
- Legislative leave includes both:
- Parental, sick and carers leave granted pursuant to the participant’s workplace entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), and any other form of leave as permitted under the National Employment Standards.
- Leave taken which meets the definition above where the participant is a contractor or otherwise not covered by the NES.
- Part time general practice experience is calculated pro-rata against the definition of full time general practice experience. Part time general practice must comprise a 14.5-hour minimum 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. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than one month in any one practice, will not be considered.
- Personal leave means any leave requested for purposes other than those described in Clauses 4.b and 4.d above.
- Post-education phase means the time participants have to fulfil Fellowship requirements, including accruing sufficient general practice experience as assessed under the Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy and for completion of Fellowship exams.
5. General Principles
5.1 Continuing provider number access is issued for a period of three years (the post-education phase) immediately following satisfactory completion of the Program’s educational requirements, during which time participants are expected to successfully complete their RACGP Fellowship exams.
5.2 Extensions to the post-education period are available to participants under the circumstances outlined in clause 7, and are offered on the grounds that a participant can demonstrate genuine and consistent effort towards achieving Fellowship, in line with the Provider Number Continuation Framework.
5.3 A provider number will not be extended where a participant has exhausted their period of exam candidacy under the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.
5.4 The RACGP reserves the right to withdraw a participant’s provider number at any time in line with the terms of clause 8.
5.5 Participants are responsible for maintaining minimum part time working hours for the duration of the post-education phase while they maintain access to a provider number.
5.6 Access to a provider number is not an exam eligibility requirement.
6.1 Participants in the PEP Standard may take leave from employment during the post-education phase of the program. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they continue to work towards exam eligibility and the requirements for Fellowship regardless of periods of leave taken.
6.2 Participants are responsible for understanding the implications of periods of leave on their exam candidacy under the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.
6.3 Participants must inform the RACGP when leave beyond permitted workplace leave entitlements is taken, via the Change in Circumstances form. Participants who do not inform the RACGP of leave may not be entitled to extension of their provider number.
6.4 Participants must not undertake paid work using their PEP provider number during periods of leave.
6.5 The RACGP will take periods of leave into consideration when determining the outcome of requests for extension to provider number access, as per clause 7.
7.1 Extensions to provider number access may be available under the following circumstances:
- Legislative or extenuating and unforeseen circumstances leave
A participant who has taken prospectively approved legislative or extenuating and unforeseen circumstances leave, at any time during the educational or post-education phases of the PEP, may be given an extension equivalent to the length of leave (up to three years) in order to complete exam requirements, without submission of additional evidence.
- Exam candidacy suspension
A participant who has taken the six month suspension of exam candidacy, during the post-education phase of the Program, as permitted under the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy, may be given an equivalent six month extension in order to complete exam requirements, without submission of additional evidence.
- Other professional or personal factors affecting exam candidacy
A participant who has experienced other factors impacting their ability to complete exam requirements, may be given an extension of up to three years to complete these requirements, dependent upon submission of evidence demonstrating a genuine and consistent effort towards achieving Fellowship, in line with the Provider Number Continuation Framework.
- Extension awaiting Fellowship
A participant who has completed all requirements for Fellowship, including all three Fellowship exams, may be given an extension of up to three months from the date of publication of OSCE results, if they:
- Are in the process of submitting an application for Fellowship; or
- Are awaiting confirmation of Fellowship.
The RACGP reserves the right to withdraw a participant’s provider number at any time during the post-education phase, under circumstances including but not limited to:
- Loss of medical registration;
- Inappropriate use of a PEP provider number, including but not limited to use while on approved leave;
- Failure to pay RACGP membership fees;
- Failure to comply with CPD requirements;
- Failure to comply with the Practice Experience Program Code of Conduct.
9. Related policies, documents and legislation
All policies and guidance documents related to the Practice Experience Program are available at the policy page.
10. Administrative procedures
10.1 Access to published policy
This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 9.
10.2 Promulgation of published policy
Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.
10.3 Review of this policy
This policy will have a review cycle of one year.