Policy update notice: Assessment of General Practice Experience policy – 3 September 2019

3 September 2019

The RACGP wishes to inform candidates on, and prospective applicants to the General Practice Experience Pathway of recent and upcoming changes to the Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy.

The details of the changes can be found in the following tables.

Clarification of policy




  1. Removal of comparability terminology ie ‘predominant’, ‘substantial’, and ‘partial comparability’ throughout the policy.
  2. Updated definitions of positions rated as 50% and 75% comparable (previously ‘partially’ and ‘substantially comparable’ posts) – see Clause 5.2.c and d.
  3. Clarification that GPE assessments will be made according to the policy in place at the time of the application – see Clause 5.3.3.
  4. Clarification that individual posts falling below minimum part time requirements do not together count to one post – see Clause 5.3.9.
  5. Clarification that only experience gained while appropriately registered will be considered – see Clause 5.3.8.
  6. Strengthening language around the required disclosure of any past or present restrictions on, or changes to, their medical registration – see Clause 5.4.2.
  1. This change ensures consistency with other RACGP policies, in which substantial’ and ‘partial comparability’ have different meanings and comparability ratings attached to them. It also ensures compliance with Medical Board of Australia Guidelines.
  2. These changes remove ambiguity, and distinguish between each comparability rating so that the assessments are clearer to applicants.
  3. This change makes it clear to candidates submitting top-up applications that subsequent applications may not be assessed under the same rules as previous applications. It also assures candidates that any changes in policy will not be applied retrospectively to already completed valid outcomes.
  4. This change makes it clear to applicants that separate general practice posts worked concurrently cannot be combined in order to meet the minimum part time requirements. Any individual post that fails to meet the minimum part time requirements will not be recognised.
  5. This change makes it clear to applicants that experience gained whilst unregistered will not be recognised, such being illegal, unethical, or both.
  6. This change makes it clear to applicants that any restrictions, suspensions, conditions or other changes to their medical registration, past or present, in Australia or foreign jurisdictions, must be disclosed to the RACGP. Failure to do so is in itself considered to be ‘educational misconduct’ as defined in the RACGP Educational Misconduct Policy.

There will be no changes to how GPE assessments will be made.

Update to academic general practice requirements




Under current policy, recognition of a post in academic general practice requires the production of a research paper at a publishable standard at the conclusion of that post. Under new policy, applicants will not be required to produce a research paper in order to have their academic general practice post recognised.

Current policy limits recognition of academic general practice to those in academic research. It fails to recognise the expertise of medical educators, who typically do not author research papers. The RACGP wishes to recognise the special interest work undertaken by medical educators, and has accordingly broadened the definition of academic general practice under this policy.

Academic general practice posts undertaken by medical educators may contribute to total assessed general practice experience, if undertaken on a part time basis concurrently with at least the minimum part time general practice experience (in clinical practice). 

Update to assessable general practice experience




Under current policy, all general practice experience gained (including experience over 10 years old) continues to be recognised as long as the applicant continues to submit top-up applications before the expiration of their latest GPE outcome.

Under new policy, previously assessed experience which was undertaken more than ten years prior to the current assessment date will not be included in subsequent applications – see Clause 5.3.2.

This change is in better alignment with RACGP principles. The rationale for strictly imposing the ten year rule is to ensure that all applicants to and candidates on the General Practice Experience Pathway gain sufficient recency in clinical general practice.

General practice experience previously assessed will not be recognised in subsequent GPE applications if it is more than ten years older than the current assessment date. This time will be automatically deducted from the new GPE outcome.

Update to GPE assessment outcomes

To be implemented from 1 January 2020




Currently, GPE assessment outcomes are valid for three years from the date of the outcome. 

As from 1 January 2020, GPE assessment outcomes will be valid for four years from the date of the outcome. 

This change has been made to align with the recency requirements for exam eligibility on the General Practice Experience Pathway. Applicants are required to have four years’ full time (or part time equivalent) in general practice over the last ten years in order to be eligible for the exams. 

All GPE outcomes dated 1 September 2016 to 31 December 2016 will be valid for three years from the date of the outcome, as per old policy. Affected candidates may request a one-year extension on the validity of their GPE outcome, via email to educationsupport@racgp.org.au. The granting of an extension is at the RACGP’s discretion;

The validity of all GPE outcomes dated 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019 will be automatically extended to four years. No extension request from the candidate is required;

All GPE outcomes dated 1 January 2020 onwards will be valid for four years, as per new policy stated in Clause 5.5.

Where can I view the documents?

Once published, the updated policy can be accessed via the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.

What if I have questions?

If you have any enquiries relating to the updated policy, please contact Julie-Anne Pho at julieanne.pho@racgp.org.au.