1. Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0016.0
1.2 Category: Education
1.3 Approval date: June 2016
1.4 Revision due date: June 2019
1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services
This policy statement is authorised by the CEO.
The Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) is a specialist general practice qualification accredited by the Australian Medical Council.
While general practice is a recognised medical specialty, not all medical practitioners working as general practitioners (GPs) in Australia hold a specialist general practice qualification. The attainment of the FRACGP signifies that a GP has been assessed as competent across the core skills of general practice enabling him or her to practice safely, unsupervised, anywhere in Australia. In short, the FRACGP denotes safe, specialised, high-quality general practice care.
The core skills of general practice are defined in two key RACGP Education documents:
- The Competency profile of the Australian General Practitioner at the point of Fellowship which articulates the core competencies of a specialist GP at the point of Fellowship and depicts the context into which those competencies will be applied.
- The RACGP Curriculum for Australian General Practice 2016 which is designed to support the development of learning programs, courses, and assessments to achieve the core skills of general practice at three different learning stages: pre-general practice, general practice under supervision, and general practice lifelong learning.
GPs possess unique skills. These skills enable them to provide truly holistic and patient-centred care to a diverse range of individuals with a broad range of presentations, no matter where they are located. In Australia, the diversity of settings can include everything from rural and remote communities to densely populated metropolitan centres. For this reason, GPs need to be able to adapt their skills to whatever situation they encounter. These encounters involve working collaboratively with patients across the lifespan and the multicultural and socioeconomic spectra, presenting with both undifferentiated and well differentiated, often multisystem and complex illness.
GPs typically provide the first point of contact and continuity of care to optimise the wellbeing of patients and the health of the wider community. Through providing quality continuity of care, effective health education, health promotion and early intervention, the GP provides the most cost and clinically effective services within Australia’s healthcare system and are the most accessed providers of healthcare. In 2014 83% of people aged over 15 years reported that they saw a GP in the previous 12 months (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013).
There are multiple pathways to achieving the FRACGP. These provide a range of entry points for Australian medical graduates, GPs working overseas, and International Medical Graduates (IMGs) working in Australia. The pathways comprise different combinations of formal and informal learning, required general practice experience, and formative and summative assessments referenced to the needs of the individual medical practitioner. The requirements of each pathway are detailed in the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.
The Fellowship pathways are underpinned by the RACGP Standards for General Practice Training. The standards describe the expected outcomes of a quality and safe training program, and are the benchmark which all training providers are monitored and accredited against. The standards cover: supervision and the practice environment; education and training/teaching; and assessment.