Note: The Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy was updated in September 2019 as part of a scheduled review. Transitional arrangements will shortly be in place to facilitate eventual full implementation of the new policy by 1 January 2020.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
For more details, please see the Policy Update Notice.
1. Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0012.0
1.2 Category: Education
1.3 Approval date: September 2019
1.4 Revision due date: September 2022
1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services
2. Policy declaration
This policy describes the principles which underpin assessments of general practice experience.
This policy is authorised by the CEO.
The objectives of this policy are to:
a. describe how general practice experience will be assessed
b. detail the requirements concerning the provision and disclosure of candidate information.
This policy applies to medical practitioners who apply to have their general practice experience assessed.
For the purposes of this policy:
a. Academic general practice means a salaried, part time placement in a recognised university department or other higher education institution of general practice. The placement must provide an opportunity to develop skills in research, teaching, project work and critical evaluation relevant to the discipline of general practice.
b. Comprehensive Australian general practice means:
- continuity of care that is person-centred, comprehensive and coordinated; focusing on the whole person, and all presenting symptoms;
- health promotion and illness prevention services that are based on patient need and the best available evidence;
- the diagnosis, treatment and management of the full range of undifferentiated conditions in a diverse range of individuals, families and communities not limited by practice intention or business focus; and
- general practice undertaken in Australia.
This is an abridged definition distilled from the Competency profile of the Australian general practitioner at the point of Fellowship.
c. Full time general practice experience comprises a 38-hour minimum working week, over a minimum of four days per week, of which a minimum of 27 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than one month in any one practice, will not be considered. Hours worked beyond this definition of full time will not be considered.
d. Part time general practice experience is calculated pro-rata against the definition of full time general practice experience. Part time general practice must comprise a 14.5-hour minimum working week, over a minimum of two days per week, of which a minimum of 10.5 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than one month in any one practice, will not be considered.
e. Assessment date is the date to which an applicant’s general practice experience has been assessed. It is based on work and documentation dates. It is used for the purposes of time calculations in subsequent GPE applications and application for Fellowship via the General Practice Experience pathway.
f. A valid outcome is an outcome of a general practice experience assessment which has an expiry date in the future, has not been superseded by a more recent general practice experience assessment outcome, and has not been rendered void for other reasons such as academic misconduct.
5. General principles
5.1 Assessment of general practice experience
5.1.1 The process for applying for a general practice experience assessment is detailed in RACGP's Applying for a General Practice Experience Assessment Guidance Document.
5.1.2 Assessments of general practice experience compare the post descriptions and evidence submitted by the applicant to the definition of comprehensive Australian general practice.
5.1.3 In order for a particular post to be assessed and recognised by the RACGP, a minimum of 70% of the working week at that post must be spent in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities.
5.2 Assigning a comparability rating
Each clinical post is assessed and assigned one of the following comparability ratings:
a. Comprehensive Australian general practice: as defined in clause 4b of this policy. Rated as 100% comparable.
b. The post was undertaken within a comparable overseas health system and covered the full range of demographics and presentations expected to be seen within a fully comparable comprehensive Australian general practice. Health systems will be compared to the scope of general practice service to the Australian community in the Competency profile of the Australian general practitioner at the point of Fellowship. Rated as 85% comparable.
c. The post:
- covered the full range of presentations expected to be seen within a fully comparable comprehensive in-clinic Australian general practice but took place in a different health system;
- took place in an Australian or comparable overseas health system, except with a reduced scope of practice due to a slightly reduced demographic of patients; or
- took place in an Australian or comparable overseas health system, except with a slightly reduced range of presentations.
Rated as 75% comparable.
d. The post involved a limited scope of practice due to:
- a limited demographic of patients;
- a limited range of presentations; and/or
- limited management options
compared to that of comprehensive in-clinic Australian general practice. Examples include home-visiting medical deputising services, and specialised or focussed primary care clinics.
Rated as 50% comparable.
e. Not comparable: hospital experience or otherwise not comparable to comprehensive Australian general practice.
The time the applicant has worked, in hours per week/month, in the post is multiplied by the general practice experience calculation rate in Table 1 to determine the amount of general practice experience that will be recognised for that post. General practice posts that are assessed as 75% comparable and 50% comparable have a cap on the amount of time that will be recognised. No combination of 75% and 50% comparable work can exceed the cap applied for 75% comparable work.
Table 1. General practice post comparability matrix
Cap recognised for this type of post
Comprehensive Australian general practice
5.3 Assessable general practice experience
5.3.1 Only general practice experience gained in the ten years prior to the date of signing the statutory declaration in the application process will be assessed. Please note that experience will be assessed up until the date of the letter of support (or other independently verifiable documentation) from the practice, or up until the date of signing the statutory declaration, whichever is earlier. Where the applicant is still working in a practice, the RACGP may choose to assess to the last full month completed in that practice in order to minimise rounding errors.
5.3.2 Previously assessed experience which was undertaken more than ten years prior to the current statutory declaration date will not be included in subsequent assessments and will be deducted from the recognised total.
5.3.3 Top-up applications
Subsequent applications will be deemed as top-up applications if:
- the previous assessment is still valid; and
- the applicant does not wish to have additional experience from before the previous assessment date considered.
For top-up applications, general practice experience will be assessed from the conclusion of the previous assessment period. Assessments will be made according to the policy in place at the time of the top-up application. New rules will not be applied retrospectively to already completed valid outcomes; however, a general practice experience post may not necessarily be assigned the same comparability rating in a subsequent application. Any changes to the assessment of that post will apply from the previously assigned assessment date.
5.3.4 Re-assessment applications
Subsequent applications will be deemed as re-assessment applications if:
- the previous assessment is no longer valid; or
- the applicant wishes to have additional experience from before the previous assessment date considered.
For re-assessment applications, the applicant may submit any general practice experience to be assessed, including experience which the RACGP had previously considered. The previous outcome will be invalidated and all newly submitted experience will be assessed according to the policy in place at the time of the re-assessment application. Previously assessed experience is not automatically carried forward, and applicants are encouraged to submit all previously assessed experience for re-assessment.
5.3.5 Full time general practice experience may include up to four weeks’ annual leave per year, but does not include leave taken immediately after commencing or immediately before ending an assessable post.
5.3.6 Applicants may accrue general practice experience outside of normal working hours. In such cases the assessment will be based on the type of work performed and the clinical scope of practice, compared to comprehensive Australian general practice.
5.3.7 Academic general practice posts only count towards general practice experience if concurrently undertaken with clinical general practice. However, if undertaken on a part time basis concurrently with at least the minimum part time general practice experience (detailed in clause 4d), it will be assessed as 50% comparable and may contribute to total assessed experience.
5.3.8 Only clinical general practice experience following the awarding of the primary medical qualification and the completion of internship will be assessed.
5.3.9 Only clinical general practice experience gained while registered with the relevant medical registering body in the jurisdiction of practice will be assessed.
5.3.10 Each general practice post will be assessed individually, and given its own comparability rating and calculation rate. General practice posts worked concurrently that individually fall below the minimum part time requirements will not be combined to meet the requirements outlined in clause 4d. Posts that do not cover the full scope of general practice are assessed individually, and cannot be combined to meet the definition of comprehensive Australian general practice as outlined in clause 4b.
5.4 Provision and disclosure of information
5.4.1 Applicants must provide current, full and verifiable information in their application. Clinical post descriptions must be individualised and include breakdowns of both clinical and non-clinical tasks. Duplicated descriptions of posts will not be accepted. An RACGP Assessor may take reasonable steps to verify the information provided. Submission of plagiarised, false or misleading information will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.
5.4.2 Applicants must disclose any past or present restrictions on, or changes to, their medical registration to the RACGP. Failure to do this will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.
5.5 Assessment outcome
General practice experience assessment outcomes are valid for four years from the date of the outcome.
If an applicant believes that a decision regarding their application for assessment of general practice experience has been made incorrectly, they may apply for reconsideration in line with the RACGP Reconsiderations and Appeals Policy.
An application for reconsideration must be submitted to the RACGP within ten national office business days of the date of the original decision.
7. Related policies, documents and legislation
All related policies are available here.
All related guidance documents are available here.
8. Administrative procedures
8.1 Access to published policy
This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 7.
8.2 Promulgation of published policy
Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.
8.3 Review of this policy
This policy will have a review cycle of three years.