Practice Experience Program (PEP)

Applications have closed for the PEP

PEP participant's guide

PEP Practices guide

The RACGP’s new Practice Experience Program (PEP) is a self-directed education program designed to support non vocationally registered (non-VR) doctors on their pathway to RACGP Fellowship. The PEP will commence in January 2019. From 2022 onwards, it will be compulsory for all doctors to complete an RACGP approved program in order to be eligible to sit the RACGP exams.

Applications for the PEP are now closed. You can download the participant's guide to the PEP.


To be eligible to apply for the PEP you must:

  • hold current Australian medical registration
  • have a job or a job offer delivering general practice services in Australia and
  • hold a valid general practice experience assessment with at least one year of assessed Australian general practice experience (full-time equivalent). 

The PEP in 2019 will be limited to 400 places. Allocation of these places will be informed by factors including practice location and years of Australian GPE experience. Consideration will be given to individuals who self-identify that they have an increased need for a support program such as the PEP.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • personal reasons such as visa restrictions
  • professional reasons such as working in isolated rural communities
  • educational reasons such as multiple exam attempts and limited access to support.

Doctors wishing to apply for the PEP  will have the opportunity to provide additional evidence to support their application as required.
Once allocated a place on the program, applicants will be assigned to an appropriate RTO. This will be based on geolocation and RTO capacity. There will be a pre-determined number of places available with each RTO. 

Entry to the PEP, program and pathway requirements once enrolled, exam eligibility and requirements for Fellowship are governed by the PEP Policies, which are available here.

For more information download the participant's guide and see the FAQs below.

Support
Support

PEP participants are supported throughout their program via access to qualified medical educators.

Professional
Professional

The program will be delivered in partnership with Regional Training Organisations (RTOs).

 
Personalised
Personalised

Time spent on the PEP and the units required for completion will be specifically tailored to each participant.

Collegiality
Collegiality

As RACGP members, PEP participants will have access to numerous resources, workshops, conferences and networking opportunities.

Tailored programs

Program content

The PEP has a strong emphasis on self-directed learning.
The program consists of six terms. Each term is six months in duration and involves completion of a minimum of five online learning units per term. The length of time on the program will range from a maximum of three terms (18 months) to a minimum of one term (six-months).

Because participants are working in practice, the unit activities are largely practice-based. This has the dual benefit of enabling participants to put new knowledge and skills into practice while spreading the workload between the workplace and home.


Frequently asked questions

Please be advised these FAQ’s are updated frequently. Prior to contacting us, we suggest you review these FAQ’s in case your query has already been addressed.
 


The Practice Experience Program (PEP), is a self-directed education program designed to support non-vocationally registered (non-VR) doctors on their journey to RACGP Fellowship.

The PEP aims to provide targeted educational support for non-VR doctors (primarily international medical graduates (IMGs)) to help them deliver quality general practice care to their patients.

From January 2022 it will be compulsory that all RACGP Fellowship exam candidates to complete either the Australian General Practice Training program (AGPT) or the PEP in order to be eligible to obtain FRACGP.


The PEP is an RACGP initiative that will be delivered in partnership with Regional Training Organisations (RTOs).


Applications for the PEP will be opening shortly. Please check this website regularly to see when you can apply for the next intake of the PEP.


You should make sure that you are aware of your existing pathway requirements when considering accepting a place on the PEP. You may be required to withdraw from a pathway you are currently enrolled in. Please see below for more details

Current pathway/program

Able to enrol in PEP

AGPT or RVTS (RACGP’s Vocational Training Pathway)

You can only be in one training program at a time. If you decide to accept your place on the PEP, you must have withdrawn from the AGPT or RVTS before starting on the PEP.

If you are looking at transferring from AGPT or RVTS, the RACGP will be able to facilitate a provider number for your time on the PEP, however, please be aware it could take up to 6 weeks for the new provider number to become active.

Practice Based Experience (PBA) Pathway

No. You would need to withdraw before you can enrol in the PEP, as you cannot be enrolled in more than one pathway to Fellowship. You will be given the opportunity to consider the offer of a place on the PEP and your individual program requirements, including pathway duration before you accept your place.

Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP)

Yes, you may enrol in the PEP while remaining on the RLRP. Please note from 1 January 2019; the RACGP will facilitate the provision of provider numbers to those GPs whose provider numbers expire after that date. Please read FAQ 14 for more information.

SRP/SPP

The PEP is not recommended for current SRP/SPP candidates, due to the conditions of your registration under the Medical Board of Australia’s Specialist Pathway. This pathway has conditions that require that you obtain Fellowship within a limited time of starting work in Australia, depending on your categorisation. You cannot sit RACGP Fellowship exams until you have completed your allocated PEP program time, which means that you may run out of time on your registration before you are able to complete all requirements.


Yes. The PEP is a Commonwealth supported program funded under the Stronger Rural Health Strategy. Please note you will need to meet eligibility requirements to be considered for the program and that meeting these requirements does not guarantee you a place in the PEP.


Yes. The PEP is a Commonwealth supported program funded under the Stronger Rural Health Program. Please note you will need to meet eligibility requirements to be considered for the program and that meeting these requirements does not guarantee you a place in the PEP.


You do not need to be an Australian citizen to apply for the PEP. Please note you will need to meet eligibility requirements to be considered for the program and that meeting these requirements does not guarantee you a place in the PEP.


The PEP is Commonwealth Government supported, which will result in a reduced cost to participants. The co-payment amount that each participant will be required to pay will be $2,000 per six-month term. Please be advised if you withdraw from the program after having been formally accepted (in writing via a Program Agreement and subject to invoice payment) you will not be eligible for government funding should you wish to join the program in another intake.


The Initial Core Skills Analysis (ICSA) assesses your level of competence and confidence against each of the core skills of general practice.
There are a series of steps involved in undertaking an ICSA:

  • Provide evidence that you have completed an approved CPR course within 12 months of your commencement on the PEP
  • Provide records of any previous Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) activities
  • Undertake a set of timed, online multiple choice questionnaires (MCQs). This IS NOT intended to be an exam. The MCQs will help to determine your level of clinical knowledge and confidence and therefore which PEP learning units you may need to undertake. There will be a total of 150 questions, delivered in 5 timed blocks of 30 questions. You will also be asked to rate your level of confidence in each of your answers
  • Watch a set of online, simulated GP consultations and answer questions on the scenarios presented. This will help to provide insight into your clinical reasoning and communication skills

Complete an online self-reflection questionnaire. This will provide an opportunity for you to express your views on your own learning goals.


Based on the results of your ICSA and your application documentation, RACGP medical educators will determine the length and content of your personalised learning program.

There are around 40 online self-directed learning units, each mapped against the curriculum and each one covering various combinations of the core skills of general practice. Each unit is the equivalent of about 30 hours of work. Some are longer or shorter; however, the five units that you will complete each six-month period are unlikely to exceed 150 hours in total.

Because you will be working in practice, the unit activities are largely practice-based. This has the dual benefit of enabling you to put new knowledge and skills into practice while spreading the workload between the workplace and home. You can expect to spend between one and two hours a day on the units.

In general terms:

  • 1 term (FTE) = 6 months
  • Minimum time spent in the PEP = 6 months (1 term)
  • Maximum time spent in the PEP = 1.5 years (3 terms)
  • Each term = 5 learning units
  • 1 Learning Unit = approximately 30 hours (please note this may vary).

You will be provided with a Learning Program Agreement to review and sign. This will detail your program, its length and the costs involved and also include a Code of Conduct.

Once the RACGP has received your signed Learning Program Agreement you are officially a participant of the PEP. Following this, you will be assigned to a RTO based on your geolocation and RTO capacity.


Your learning units are allocated based on your results from the ICSA, your previous experience, your reflections and your practice.

Everyone in the PEP will complete the Core units. Due to the number of learning outcomes and amount of content, the first unit is in four parts.

* Core skills unit:

  • The Australian healthcare system and context of Australian general practice
  • Ethics and legalities of practice in Australia
  • Safety (patient, personal and practice)
  • Emergencies in practice

* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
* Doctor’s health
* Clinical skills in the general practice context
* Communication and consulting skills – Part 1
* Communication and consulting skills – Part 2

If you work in rural or remote areas, you may also need to complete:

* Rural health

You will receive feedback on some (but not all) of the tasks in the units.

In subsequent terms, you will complete the learning units specified in your Learning Program as agreed with you. These will be allocated to you, but you will have the opportunity to substitute your allocated units for other units that you consider are more appropriate for you following a discussion with a medical educator when you start the program. Other units will be recommended, which means you might find it useful to complete them to further your skills and knowledge. You will not receive feedback from a medical educator about the activities in a recommended unit, but you could choose to discuss them with a friend or colleague.

If you have extra experience in an area (e.g. a Diploma of Child Health) and wish this to be recognised in the allocation of units, you can supply this information with your ICSA assessment. You will need to provide sufficient evidence that you have achieved the learning outcomes and competencies expected at the completion of that unit.

Please refer to Table 1 in the participant’s guide for a full list of the learning units.


The PEP is a self-directed learning program, and you will need to commit your own personal time and effort to ensure satisfactory progression during your participation in the program.

However, in addition to the online learning units, your assigned RTO will provide you with the following support during your participation:

  • Medical educator mentoring and support to provide feedback and assistance on developing your learning plan as well as monitoring your progress and performance throughout the duration of each term
  • Longitudinal assessment and feedback, delivered in the workplace and designed to help you improve your performance as a general practitioner and to help prepare you for the Fellowship exams
  • Program administrative support to assist with coordination of training program activities and workplace-based assessment and help you to stay on track throughout the program.


Your RTO will advise the RACGP when you have completed your program satisfactorily and have been deemed eligible to sit the RACGP Fellowship exams. Once this is approved by the RACGP, you may enrol for the exams, for further details see the RACGP Fellowship Exams Candidate Handbook.


In line with the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy, you will have six semesters across three years to finish the exams. This three-year candidacy begins when you become eligible for exams. If you have enough time in general practice at or before the completion of your Program time to be exam eligible, your period of exam candidacy begins in the first exam semester after completing or withdrawing from PEP. You should, therefore, ensure you enrol in the first exam for which you are eligible – enrolments may fall before the completion of allocated Program time.

For example, if you finish PEP at the end of 2019 and meet the requirements of clause 5 of the Exam Eligibility Policy, your exam candidacy will begin with the 2020.1 exams; you must, therefore, enrol in late 2019 before you have completed your time in the Program.


No, you cannot sit exams while still in the Program. You can enrol in exams (if you are eligible) while still on the Program but must have completed your program time or withdrawn from PEP to sit the exams.


You will carry your exam passes with you into the PEP, in line with clause 6 of the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy. Existing pass results obtained before 2019.1 remain valid in accord with the exam candidate handbook that was in place at the time of the first pass – usually three years. If you enter the PEP, exam expiry will be frozen for the duration of your program; you will then have the remainder of the three years after you complete your program to pass any remaining exam segments.

If you have no passes before entering PEP, you will have three years from the point of becoming eligible to pass all three segments, in line with clause 5.1.ii of the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.

Please note that you are not able to enrol in any exams until you have completed your program time satisfactorily.


You will carry your exam passes with you into the PEP, in line with clause 6 of the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy. Existing pass results obtained before 2019.1 remain valid in accord with the exam candidate handbook that was in place at the time of the first pass – usually three years. If you enter the PEP, exam expiry will be frozen for the duration of your program; you will then have the remainder of the three years after you complete your program to pass any remaining exam segments.

If you have no passes before entering PEP, you will have three years from the point of becoming eligible to pass all three segments, in line with clause 5.1.ii of the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.

Please note that you are not able to enrol in any exams until you have completed your program time satisfactorily.


Yes, however, when considering accepting a place on the PEP, you should note that RACGP exam passes expire after three years. This means that passes gained more than three years prior to your completion of the Program would expire, and you would need to undertake those exam segments again, in line with the RACGP Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy


In 2019, PEP participants (that is, those who have signed their Program Agreement and paid their PEP co-payment by the agreed date) will be able to apply for registration on the Register of Approved Placements. By being on the register, participants enrolled in the PEP are then able to apply for a Medicare Provider number through the RACGP. The RACGP’s 3GA provider numbers will give you access to 100% of the fee for the VR GP items through Medicare.

The transfer of the responsibility for issuing of provider numbers from the Australian Government to the RACGP will begin 1 January 2019. We will begin to process applications for a PEP Medicare Provider number as from January 21 2019. We are currently working closely with the Department of Health to set up the necessary processes. If your current 3GA provider number expires before March 2019, it is highly recommended that you ask your current provider for an extension of your 3GA provider number until at least 31 March 2019 to avoid any gaps in your access to Medicare billing. Once received, processing of Medicare Provider numbers by the government can take up to ten weeks, so it is advisable to begin the process of application as soon possible upon receipt of information from the RACGP.

Your current Medicare access restrictions (under sections 19AA and 19AB) will continue to apply while you are on PEP. For example, if you are limited to working in Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS), this will not change.


We have built an online portal where you will find everything you need related to the PEP.

To access the PEP portal you will need to login to the RACGP website. You can use the same RACGP login credentials you use regularly.

If you have forgotten your password, follow the ‘forgotten password’ link on the login page to reset it.

Once you have logged in, the PEP portal can be accessed from the drop-down menu on the top right corner of the RACGP website.

Your PEP portal user guide can be accessed by selecting the Help button on the top menu.

We hope your experience with this program is valuable and would like to remind you that we are here to support you throughout your experience:

  • For technical and other PEP enquiries, please email pepadmin@racgp.org.au or call 03 8699 0580.
  • For membership enquiries, please contact 1800 472 247.