Fellowship Exams Policy


Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the requirements for Registrars to sit the Fellowship Exams.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. all Registrars enrolling in or attempting Fellowship Exams (Candidates) on the:

      1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program,

      2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), and

      3. Fellowship Support Program (FSP), and

    2. RACGP Staff.

2.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Assessments and examinations candidate handbook and relevant Registrar handbooks and staff training manuals.

2.3 This policy replaces the previous Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy and Vocational Training Pathway – Examinations Eligibility Policy and will come into effect on the start date of the first term of the Training Program or the RVTS in 2023. For the avoidance of doubt, to the extent that there is any inconsistency between the previous policies and this policy, the terms of this policy apply.

3. General principles

3.1 The Fellowship Exams assess the Candidate’s competency for unsupervised Comprehensive Australian General Practice.

3.2 The RACGP believes participation in an education or training program with appropriate supervision is the most suitable way to prepare for the Fellowship Exams.

3.3 The RACGP limits the number of Fellowship Exam attempts that the Candidate can sit in a determined period. This ensures the Candidate progresses towards Fellowship in an appropriate timeframe and maintains the knowledge and skills developed during their  RACGP-Approved Program.

3.4 The RACGP will offer ongoing exam preparation and appropriate case management support.

4. Eligibility requirements

4.1 Prior to the Registrar enrolling in Fellowship Exams, the RACGP or RVTS must determine the Registrar has or will satisfy the following by the time of the Fellowship Exam:

    1. satisfactory completion of the Education and Training Requirements for exam eligibility of their RACGP-Approved Program, and

    2. completion of appropriate Program Time for exam eligibility of their RACGP-Approved Program.

For more information on Education and Training Requirements and appropriate Program Time for exam eligibility, please refer to the relevant Registrar handbook.

4.2 To be eligible to enrol in exams, the Registrar must hold current Australian medical registration at all times while on their RACGP-Approved Program.

    1. The Registrar must promptly disclose to the RACGP all details of any:

      1. Addenda on their medical registration, and

      2. regulatory authority activity, whether in Australia or otherwise, that:

        1. has led or may lead to a change in registration status, or

        2. has led to an adverse finding for the Registrar, or forms part of an ongoing investigation, and

        3. any other Notifiable Conduct.

    2. Registrars with Addenda on their medical registration or any other regulatory activity may not be eligible for exams.

    3. The RACGP will manage a failure to disclose the information listed in 4.2.i as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

    4. Registrars who do not hold any current Australian medical registration will not be permitted to enrol or remain enrolled in Fellowship Exams.

4.3 The Registrar must be a current Financial RACGP Member from Commencement of Training until they have either been admitted to Fellowship or they have exhausted their Fellowship Exam Candidacy.

4.4 Registrars undertaking an Approved Remediation Term are not eligible to sit the Fellowship Exams.

4.5 Registrars on an approved period of leave as per the Leave Policy are not eligible to sit the Fellowship Exams.

    1. Registrars wanting to sit the Fellowship Exams while on a period of leave may seek an exemption from clause 4.5 from the RACGP.

4.6 If at any time the Candidate becomes ineligible for a Fellowship Exam after enrolment in that exam, they must inform the RACGP and withdraw from the exam. Failure to do this will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

5. Exam candidacy

5.1 Each Candidate has one Candidacy to sit the Fellowship Exams.

5.2 Candidates may enrol in exams in a maximum of six Exam Semesters.

    1. Exam Semesters relate to the Candidate's Candidacy, not to individual exam attempts. Candidates must pass all the Fellowship Exams within the Candidate’s prescribed six Exam Semesters.

5.3 Candidates must complete all exams within three calendar years of the commencement of their Candidacy, excluding suspensions of Candidacy approved by the RACGP.

5.4 Candidacy commences when the Candidate enrols and sits their first exam and will continue independent of any Training Program or RVTS transfers or withdrawals, unless advised otherwise by the RACGP.

    1. If the Candidate enrols in but then fails to sit the exam due to an Unsanctioned Withdrawal, the exam will still be deemed to be the beginning of their Candidacy period.

    2. Any Fellowship Exam passed during the Candidacy remains valid for the duration of the Candidate’s Candidacy.

    3. The RACGP will suspend the Candidacy if the Candidate transfers to or enters a new RACGP-Approved Program as per clause 5.7.iii of this policy.

5.5 If the Candidate does not pass all three Fellowship Exams by the end of their Candidacy, they will be ineligible for Fellowship.

5.6 The RACGP records the start and end dates of each Candidate’s Candidacy and will make these dates available to the Candidate.

5.7 Suspension of Candidacy:

    1. Candidates may apply to the RACGP for a Suspension of Candidacy for one standard semester. This standard suspension may be undertaken at any time during the Candidate’s Candidacy.

    2. Candidates may request a suspension at any time during their Candidacy until they have sat an exam in their final Exam Semester.

    3. The RACGP will suspend the Candidacy of a Registrar in an RACGP-Approved Program until they have met the exam eligibility requirements of the respective program.

    4. A Suspension of Candidacy does not suspend or extend the three-calendar year validity of any exam pass obtained prior to 1 January 2019, unless the Candidate enters an RACGP-Approved Program. The validity of previous exam passes will then be extended by the length of the Candidate’s Program Time.

    5. The RACGP may permit non-standard suspension periods in significant Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances. Approval of any additional suspension period is at the RACGP’s discretion.

    6. Candidates may not sit exams while their Candidacy is suspended.

6. Pre-2019 exam results

6.1 Existing exam pass results will remain valid as per the Assessments and examinations candidate handbook that was applicable at the time of the first pass.

    1. If an exam pass that predates 1 January 2019 expires within the Candidate’s three-year period of Candidacy after the 2019.1 Exam Semester, the Candidate must re-sit and pass the expired exam within their period of Candidacy to be eligible for Fellowship.

6.2 Exam attempts before 1 January 2019 do not count towards the total number of exam attempts permitted as per this policy.

7. 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.

8. Responsibilities

8.1 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving suspensions of Candidacy beyond 26 calendar weeks
  2. Approving Minor Amendments
  3. Approving Moderate Amendments
  4. Approving Consequential Amendments

8.2 Candidate

  1. Tracking their Candidacy period and enrolling in their assessments within this period
  2. Applying for a 26-calendar week suspension at their discretion
  3. Providing evidence of Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances should they require further suspension of their Candidacy

8.3 RACGP

  1. Determining if the Candidate has met Education and Training Requirements and undertaken the required Program Time for exam eligibility
  2. Assessing the exam eligibility status of Candidates
  3. Recording the start and end date of the Candidate's Candidacy and making this available to the Candidate

8.4 RACGP Board

  1. Approving Major Amendments

 

8.5 RVTS team

  1. Determining if the Candidate has met Education and Training Requirements and undertaken the required Program Time for exam eligibility

 

9. Glossary

9.1 Addenda

Includes, but is not limited to, restrictions, conditions, limitations, reprimands, supervision requirements, tribunal outcomes, suspensions, undertakings and/or any other remarks or changes on a Registrar’s medical registration.

Refer to AHPRA’s website for more information.

9.2  Approved Remediation Term

A term in which the Registrar receives additional support requiring funding and suspension of Program Time in order to address performance concerns.

9.3 Candidacy

The three-year period during which Candidates may enrol in Fellowship Exams

9.4 Candidate

The medical practitioner eligible to sit RACGP Fellowship Exams.

9.5 Commencement of Training

The first day on which the Registrar begins their RACGP-Approved Program.

9.6 Comprehensive Australian General Practice

As defined in the Comprehensive Australian general practice guidance document.

9.7 Consequential Amendment

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

9.8 Education and Training Requirements

The mandatory components of the Registrar’s RACGP-Approved Program as defined in the relevant Registrar handbook.

9.9 Exam Semester

A period during which all three Fellowship Exams are delivered.

9.10 Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances

Circumstances which are outside the Registrar’s control and can reasonably be considered to have been unforeseen, and can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the Registrar. The RACGP considers Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

9.11 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

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

9.12 Fellowship Exams

The exams run by the RACGP to assess the Candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia, including:

  1. Applied Knowledge Test (AKT),
  2. Key Feature Problem (KFP), and
  3. Clinical Examination, which depending on the time of sitting, is the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), Remote Clinical Exam (RCE) or Clinical Competency Exam (CCE).

9.13 Financial RACGP Member

An RACGP Member who has:

  1. met the membership category requirements,
  2. had their complete membership application form accepted, and
  3. paid their current membership fee in full.

9.14 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).

9.15 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. 

9.16 Moderate Amendment

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).

9.17 Notifiable Conduct

Notifiable Conduct holds the same definition as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Guidelines for Mandatory notifications about registered health practitioners.

9.18 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 specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cwlth).

9.19 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

9.20 Registrar

The medical practitioner enrolled in the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, or
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).

9.21 Suspension of Candidacy

An Exam Semester during the Candidacy in which the Candidate is not required or permitted to attempt Fellowship Exams. The two types are:

  1. Standard suspension
  2. A single suspension granted automatically by the RACGP and available to any Candidate once during their Candidacy.
  3. Non-standard

A suspension granted by the RACGP to the Candidate on the provision of evidence of Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances.

9.22 Training Program

Either the:

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

9.23 Unsanctioned Withdrawal

Withdrawal from an RACGP Assessment that is not approved in writing by the RACGP.

 

10. Related documents, legislation and policies 

11. 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 History

Version

Date of effect

Amended by

1

The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

Policy owner:

RACGP Board

Approved by:

RACGP Board

Approved on:

23/06/2022

Next review due:

06/2025

 

 

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