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Dispute, Reconsideration and Appeals Policy


Policy

 1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the principles and circumstances under which the medical practitioner may require the resolution of a dispute, reconsideration or appeal of a decision made by the RACGP in relation to progression towards Fellowship, the conduct or outcome of their Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI), or the outcome of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) decision.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. Applicants raising a dispute or applying for reconsideration or appeal. An applicant is defined as a medical practitioner:

      1. applying for entry into an RACGP-Approved Program,

      2. enrolled in an RACGP-Approved Program,

      3. applying for or party to a PESCI conducted by the RACGP, or

      4. participating in the RACGP CPD program.

    2. RACGP Staff.

2.2 This policy, and any other approved policies associated with it, outlines the RACGP Board-approved decision-making process for disputes, reconsiderations and appeals. The process is designed to treat all applicants fairly and consistently in line with the policy and represents the means by which decisions can be made or challenged. Failure to adhere to this policy, either by applicants or decision makers, may lead to unjust or inconsistent outcomes. It may also constitute a breach of the relevant code of conduct or, alternatively, expose the RACGP to legal liability.

2.3 Disputes and decisions that are out of the scope of this policy include:

    1. disputes with an employer that do not relate to an Applicant’s general practice training, PESCI or CPD Program,

    2. decisions made by other organisations, and

    3. outcomes issued as per the Complaints Policy.

2.4 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Dispute, reconsideration and appeals guide, relevant Registrar handbooks, relevant CPD handbooks and staff training manuals.

2.5 This policy replaces the previous Reconsiderations and Appeals Policy and will come into effect on the first day of the first term of the RACGP-Approved Program in 2023. For the avoidance of doubt, to the extent that there is any inconsistency between the previous policy and this policy, the terms of this policy apply.

3. General principles

3.1 Applicants are entitled to:

    1. raise a dispute and appeal regarding a decision made by the RACGP relating to their Training Program,

    2. apply for reconsideration and appeal of a decision made by the RACGP relating to their progression towards Fellowship or their PESCI, or

    3. apply for dispute and appeal of a decision made by the RACGP relating to the RACGP CPD program.

3.2 The dispute, reconsideration and appeals process ensures RACGP decisions:

    1. are made following due process and comply with RACGP policies, and

    2. are valid, with proper consideration given to the information available or tendered in relation to the decision.

3.3 The RACGP will provide administrative support to Applicants throughout the process, as per this policy.

4. Dispute, reconsideration and appeals process

The dispute, reconsideration and appeals process comprises two steps:

4.1 The Applicant may challenge a decision made by the RACGP by either:

    1. applying to the regional team to dispute a decision regarding their Training Program,

    2. applying to the CPD team to dispute a decision regarding their CPD program, or

    3. applying to the national team for reconsideration of other decisions made by the RACGP.

4.2 The Applicant may appeal a decision made by the RACGP as a result of either 4.1.i or 4.1.ii of this policy by applying to the Appeals Committee.

    1. An application for appeal will not be accepted unless the Applicant has exhausted the options for dispute resolution or reconsideration in 4.1.i or 4.1.ii of this policy.

5. Dispute of a Training Program decision

5.1 The Applicant may apply to dispute a decision relating to their Training Program (Original Decision) with their Program Team who will escalate the dispute to the Regional Team.

    1. The Applicant must officially dispute the Original Decision within 10 Business Days of Receiving Notification of the Original Decision.

      1. In the case of a dispute related to an involuntary withdrawal the Applicant must officially dispute the Original Decision within 20 business days from the date of withdrawal or the date of Receiving the notification of their withdrawal, whichever is the later.

    2. The Regional Team will only consider disputes that fail to reach an agreed outcome following informal mediation between the Applicant and the Program Team.

5.2 When assessing a dispute of a decision, the RACGP considers all relevant information available at the time of the Original Decision.

    1. The Applicant may submit additional evidence only if this evidence supports the information available to the Original Decision maker at the time of the Original Decision.

    2. The RACGP will only consider relevant evidence when assessing a dispute.

5.3 Once a complete application for a dispute is received, the most appropriate Regional Team member (Disputes Officer) will assess the dispute.

    1. The Disputes Officer is someone who:

      1. did not make the Original Decision, and

      2. is of equivalent or greater seniority to the Original Decision maker.

5.4 The Disputes Officer may uphold, amend or overturn the Original Decision.

5.5 The Disputes Officer will provide a decision on the matter within 15 Business Days of receiving the complete application for a dispute, unless the RACGP advises otherwise.

5.6 The Applicant may apply to have the Disputes Officer’s decision heard by an Appeals Committee as per Clause 7 of this policy.

6. Dispute of a CPD decision

6.1 The Applicant may apply to dispute a decision relating to their CPD Program (Original Decision) with the CPD Team.

    1. The Applicant must officially dispute the Original Decision within 10 Business Days of Receiving Notification of the Original Decision.

    2. The CPD team will only consider disputes that fail to reach an agreed outcome following informal mediation.

6.2 When assessing a dispute of a decision, the RACGP considers all relevant information available at the time of the Original Decision.

    1. The Applicant may submit additional evidence only if this evidence supports the information available to the Original Decision maker at the time of the Original Decision.

    2. The RACGP will only consider relevant evidence when assessing a dispute.

6.3 Once a complete application for a dispute is received, the most appropriate CPD Team member (Disputes Officer) will assess the dispute.

    1. The Disputes Officer is someone who:

      1. did not make the Original Decision, and

      2. is of equivalent or greater seniority to the Original Decision maker.

6.4 The Disputes Officer may uphold, amend or overturn the Original Decision.

6.5 The Disputes Officer will provide a decision on the matter within 15 Business Days of receiving the complete application for a dispute, unless the RACGP advises otherwise.

6.6 The Applicant may apply to have the Disputes Officer’s decision heard by an Appeals Committee as per Clause 8 of this policy.

7. Reconsideration of an RACGP decision

7.1 The Applicant may apply to the RACGP for reconsideration of a decision (the Original Decision) using the Application for reconsideration form.

    1. Decisions made as per Clause 5 (Dispute of a Training Program Decision) or Clause 6 (Dispute of a CPD Program Decision) of this policy cannot be reconsidered.

7.2 Reconsideration of a decision considers all relevant information available at the time of the Original Decision.

    1. The Applicant may submit additional evidence only if this evidence supports the information available to the Original Decision maker at the time of the Original Decision.

    2. The RACGP will only consider relevant evidence when reconsidering a decision.

7.3 The Applicant must apply to the RACGP for reconsideration of a decision within 10 Business Days following Receiving the Notification of the Original Decision.

7.4 Once a complete application and payment are received, the most appropriate RACGP executive team member will reconsider the Original Decision.

    1. The executive team member may delegate the reconsideration to the most appropriate officer (the Responsible Officer) provided the Responsible Officer:

      1. did not make the Original Decision, and

      2. is of at least equivalent seniority to the Original Decision maker.

    2. If the Original Decision maker was an executive team member, the RACGP policy team must allocate the application to the Chief Executive Officer who becomes the Responsible Officer.

7.5 The Responsible Officer:

    1. may uphold, amend or overturn the Original Decision, and

    2. will notify the Applicant of the outcome of reconsideration within 15 Business Days of receiving a complete application, unless advised otherwise.

7.6 The Applicant may appeal the reconsideration decision as per Clause 8 of this policy.

8. Appeal to the Appeals Committee

8.1 An Applicant may apply to the RACGP to appeal the outcome of a dispute or reconsideration, using the Application for appeal form.

8.2 An application for appeal must be submitted to the RACGP within 20 Business Days of receiving the notification of the outcome of a reconsideration or dispute.

8.3 The Appeals Committee:

    1. will be convened by the Appeals Officer, and the Appeals Committee Chair will provide an outcome to the Applicant within 30 Business Days of receiving a complete application for appeal, unless the RACGP advises otherwise,

    2. decides each appeal on its merits, is subject to the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness, and may inform itself of any matter and in such a manner as it thinks fit, and

    3. must give the Applicant the opportunity to make a verbal submission.

    4. will have the following members:

      1. A current RACGP Censor who will act as Chair,

      2. An RACGP Staff member familiar with the general operations related to the decision,

      3. A Fellow of the RACGP familiar with the general operations related to the decision, and

      4. An independent person who is not a Member or Staff of the RACGP.

8.4 Decisions of the Appeals Committee:

    1. may uphold, amend or overturn the Original Decision,

    2. will be provided to the Applicant within 10 Business Days of the decision being made, and

    3. will be final, and the Applicant is unable to further appeal the outcome.

9. Amendment of this policy

The Censor-in-Chief (CiC) may, without the consent of the RACGP Board, make Minor, Moderate and Consequential Amendments to this policy at any time.

If the CiC makes amendments, they must advise the RACGP Board of those amendments as soon as practicable.

The RACGP Board may make amendments to this policy at any time.

10. Responsibilities

10.1 Appeals Committee

  1. Deciding on the outcome of the appeal
  2. Providing the outcome of the appeal to the Applicant within 10 Business Days

10.2 Applicant

  1. Following all previous disputes or reconsiderations processes before submitting an application for appeal
  2. Submitting appropriate forms and evidence with any application
  3. Submitting an application for reconsideration within 10 Business Days of receiving the decision
  4. Submitting an application for appeal within 20 Business Days of receiving the reconsideration outcome

10.3 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving Minor Amendments
  2. Approving Moderate Amendments
  3. Approving Consequential Amendments

10.4 National Team

  1. Administering applications for reconsideration and appeal
  2. Convening the Appeals Committee

10.5 Program Team

  1. Following the disputes resolution process
  2. Escalating unresolved disputes to the Regional Team
  3. Supporting the Applicant throughout any dispute, reconsideration and appeal

10.6 RACGP Board

  1. Approving Major Amendments.

10.7 Regional Team

  1. Making a decision within the disputes process

 

11. Glossary

11.1 Applicant

The medical practitioner applying for a dispute, reconsideration or appeal as per this policy.

11.2 Appeals Officer

The National Team member responsible for coordinating reconsiderations and appeals.

11.3 Business Day

A day when both the RACGP national and relevant regional offices are operating.

11.4 Consequential Amendment

An amendment that requires urgent implementation as a necessary result of an amendment to another policy or process.

11.5 CPD

Continuing professional development. RACGP CPD describes the learning activities that GPs engage in to develop, maintain and enhance their professional skills.

11.6 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

  1. Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), or
  2. FRACGP and Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG).

11.7 Major Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of the policy but is not otherwise a Minor or Moderate Amendment (ie a change to one major clause or policy review).

11.8 Member

Has the meaning given per clause 110.a.xxii of the RACGP Constitution

11.9 Minor Amendment

An amendment to style, to correct grammatical mistakes, change overall formatting, make updates that do not materially change meaning, or any other amendment, which in the opinion of the Censor-in-Chief, does not materially alter the operation of the policy.

11.10 Moderate Amendments

An amendment that materially changes the operation of a policy by a limited amount (ie a change to one minor clause, or changes that have a limited impact on the outcome of the policy).

11.11 Original Decision

A decision that is the subject of a dispute, reconsideration or appeal.

11.12 Program Team

A medical practitioner’s medical educator and training coordinator.

11.13 RACGP-Approved Program

An education or Training Program approved by the RACGP as a suitable avenue to Fellowship, including the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training Program,
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme,
  3. Fellowship Support Program,
  4. Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream
  5. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable
  6. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Substantially Comparable
  7. The Specialist Pathway Program
  8. The Specialist Recognition Program
  9. The International Conjoint Programs - Academy of Family Physicians
  10. Malaysia (AFPM) and Hong Kong College of Family Physicians (HKCFP) x.    specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cwlth).

11.14 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

11.15 Receiving the Notification

The RACGP deems the Applicant to have received a notification on:

  1. the date the RACGP sends the email, or
  2. the confirmed date of delivery of the registered mail.

11.16 Regional Team

The team that manages a Training Region providing support locally with specialised resources and expertise. Activities of the Regional Team include Training Site accreditation, larger group educational workshops requiring special resourcing, oversight of key stakeholder support and engagement, and regional advocacy.

11.17 Training Program

Either the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, or
  2. Fellowship Support Program (FSP).


12. Related documents, legislation and policies

13. Policy review and currency

This policy will be reviewed every three calendar years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy. This policy remains valid and applicable notwithstanding if it is overdue for review.

 

 

Version

Date of effect

Amended by

4 03/07/23 Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details
  • Broadening of scope throughout document to include CPD dispute and appeal process
  • Inclusion of clause 8.3.iv relating to Appeal Committee members
  • Amendment to clause 7.3 relating to timeframes for a reconsideration, all applications subject to 10 business day timeframe.
  • General amendments to grammar and structure thoughout.
  • Update to Responsibilities and Glossary.
3 27/03/23 Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details
  • Amendments to links to forms throughout
2 The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023 Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details
  • Sub clause 5.1.i has been added to make an exception to the standard 10 business days for a dispute related to involuntary withdrawal
  • Links have been updated throughout where documents have become available
 
1 The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023 Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details
  • A local level Disputes process has been created to manage issues around training. Decisions made under this process cannot be reconsidered but can be appealed
  • Original decision-maker reconsidering decisions has been changed to relevant Executive leadership team member
  • We have provided clarity on the timeframes RACGP Staff need to adhere to with providing outcomes
Policy owner: RACGP Board
Approved by: RACGP Board Approved on: 23/07/22
Next review due: 07/2025    
 

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