Practice Experience Program (PEP)

Applications have closed for the PEP

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.


Key dates

Calendar

30 July - 27 August 2018

1. Application period
Applications for the PEP  are now closed. Please refer to the FAQs for more information on what you will need to provide with your application.

Calendar

September 2018

2. Application outcome sent to candidates.
Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application in mid-September. If your application is successful, you will be invited to undertake an Initial Core Skills Analysis which will inform the development of your tailored learning program.

Calendar

January 2019

3. PEP  starts
The PEP  will commence in January 2019. From 2022 onwards, undertaking an approved program will be compulsory to be eligible to sit the RACGP Fellowship exams. We encourage all non-VR doctors interested in becoming a General Practitioner in Australia to enrol sooner rather than later to gain access to the structured support that PEP will provide.

Frequently asked questions

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

The PEP in 2019 will be limited to 400 participants.

From January 2022 it will be compulsory that all RACGP Fellowship exam candidates complete either the 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 are now open. You can apply via the RACGP website from 30 July until 27 August 2018. If you have expressed your interest, you will be contacted directly by the RACGP and invited to apply. To apply now, click here.

In order to be eligible to apply for the PEP you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid general practice experience assessment with at least one year of assessed Australian general practice experience. For more information, see the Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy
  • Hold current Australian medical registration
  • Have a job or a job offer delivering general practice services in Australia.

You will need to provide the following with your online application:

  • Your RACGP membership number (If you are not yet a member, you can join here)
  • Your AHPRA medical registration number and a copy of your registration certificate
  • Details of your GPE assessment (date and outcome)
  • A letter of support from your current practice stating your supervisor’s contact details -if applicable - (or a letter of offer for an Australian general practice role)
  • A current CV.

Applications will be accepted up until COB 27 August. Any applications received after this time will not be processed. A group of 400 participants will be allocated places on the program by the RACGP.

You will be informed of the outcome of your application in mid-September.

If you are not accepted: you are not able to participate in the PEP. You will have the opportunity to apply for the next PEP intake in 2020.
If you are accepted: You will be requested to complete an Initial Core Skills Analysis (ICSA). The ICSA will determine the length and content of your personalised learning program.
 

The 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 no your geolocation and RTO capacity.

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.

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 a period of 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 year period after you complete your program to pass any remaining exam segments.

If you have no passes prior to 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

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.

From 1 January 2019, the RACGP will facilitate the provision of provider numbers to those PEP participants whose provider numbers expire after 1 January. Please note, the provision of provider numbers may take around 6 weeks and therefore we suggest PEP participants whose provider numbers expire before 1 January 2019 request an extension from their current 3GA program provider (RLRP, OMPS, etc) to avoid any gaps in not having a provider number.

If you enrol in the PEP, you are not able to sit exams until you have completed your allocated program time. If you want to enrol in the 2018.2 exam but then choose to sign the Program Agreement and join PEP, you should note that you would then not be able to sit the exam and would be withdrawn and reimbursed your exam fee.

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 a period of 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 year period after you complete your program to pass any remaining exam segments.

If you have no passes prior to 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 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 fromthe 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. The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Current Australian medical registration
  • A job or offer of a job delivering general practice services
  • A valid GPE assessment, with one year of assessed Australian general practice experience.

If you meet these criteria, regardless of location, you can apply for PEP. Please note that meeting these criteria does not guarantee you a place on the PEP, as the 2019 intake is limited to 400 places.

Yes. The PEP is a Commonwealth supported program funded under the Stronger Rural Health Program. The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Current Australian medical registration
  • A job or offer of a job delivering general practice services
  • A valid GPE assessment, with one year of assessed Australian general practice experience. 

If you meet these criteria, you can apply for PEP. Please note that meeting these criteria does not guarantee you a place on the PEP, as the 2019 intake is limited to 400 places. Furthermore, preference will be given to applicants working in comprehensive general practice.

You do not need to be an Australian citizen to apply for the PEP. The eligibility criteria for the Program are as follows:

  • Current Australian medical registration
  • A job or offer of a job delivering general practice services
  • A valid GPE assessment, with one year of assessed Australian general practice experience.

If you meet these three criteria, you may apply for the PEP. Please note that meeting these criteria does not guarantee you a place on the PEP, as the 2019 intake is limited to 400 places.

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 (eg 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 completion of that unit.

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

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.

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.