1. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable Entry Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0038.0
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
Applicants assessed as partially comparable must meet the requirements detailed in this policy to be granted entry into the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream.
3. Background and scope
- The PEP Specialist Stream is the pathway to Fellowship of the RACGP available to specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs). Previous iterations of this pathway include:
- the Specialist Pathway Program (SPP), which ran from 2010 to 2018, and categorised SIMGs as Category 1, 2 or 3, or not comparable; and
- the Specialist Recognition Program (SRP), which superseded the SPP from 2018 to 2019 following the release of updated Medical Board of Australia Guidelines – Supervised Practice of International medical graduates.
- From 1 September 2019, the specialist pathway to Fellowship will fall under the PEP as a specialist stream. This adjustment supports the removal of Fellowship ad eudem gradum (FAEG) to ensure a robust and more uniform approach to the assessment of SIMGs. From this time, SIMGs will be required to work under supervision under limited or provisional registration from the Medical Board of Australia. The RACGP will issue PEP provider numbers to eligible SIMGs to permit access to A1 Medicare rebates.
- This policy applies to SIMGs wishing to pursue Fellowship of the RACGP via the PEP Specialist Stream, and who have been assessed as partially comparable under the Comparability Assessment.
- This policy and associated policies will supersede the existing SRP as from 1 September 2019.
- Participants enrolled in the SPP or SRP before 31 August 2019 will continue their candidacy under policies in existence at the time of their enrolment in the SRP or SPP.
For the purposes of this policy:
- Acceptance of application means the date on which the PEP entry application is accepted. It is the date that all necessary documents are received by the RACGP. As this date is used to determine timeframes for certain requirements, delays in submitting documentation may affect the validity of other, already submitted documents.
- Applicant means a medical practitioner who is applying for entry onto the PEP Specialist Stream.
- Comparable/comparability means the extent to which an SIMG’s recency, continuity of practice, continual professional development, assessment, training, qualifications and clinical experience are assessed as equivalent to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of Fellowship.
- Partially comparable means the applicant has been assessed as suitable to undertake a defined scope of practice in a supervised capacity and able to reach comparability within 24 months’ full time equivalent practice, with a maximum time on the program of 48 months if working part time.
- 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
- Community-based general practice undertaken in Australia.
- 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.
- Participant means a medical practitioner who has been accepted into the PEP Specialist Stream.
- 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, or which do not have at least one hour of clinical activity, will not be considered.
- RACGP-endorsed employment means a role which has been assessed by the RACGP as being in comprehensive Australian general practice, and which meets registration requirements as prescribed by the Medical Board of Australia and the PEP location requirements. The role is assessed before the applicant has commenced in the role, based on a prospective job offer as supplied in the comparability assessment application.
- SIMG means Specialist International Medical Graduate.
- Supervision/supervised practice means supervision in line with the principles of supervision and supervised practice, based upon the prescribed Medical Board of Australia Guidelines – Supervised Practice of International Medical Graduates.
5. Applying for entry
5.1 Eligibility requirements
Applicants must have completed a Comparability Assessment and been assessed as partially comparable. The process for applying for a Comparability Assessment is detailed in the RACGP's A Guide to Completing the PEP Specialist Stream Comparability Assessment.
5.2 Application requirements
Applicants must submit a completed application for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream. This application must include:
- Evidence of current medical registration in the applicant’s current jurisdiction of practice and all details of any past or present:
- Restrictions on or changes to their medical registration; and
- Regulatory authority activity, whether in Australia or otherwise, that:
- has led or may lead to a restriction on practice; or
- has led to an adverse finding for the medical practitioner, or forms part of an ongoing investigation.
Applicants with restrictions on their medical registration or any other regulatory activity may not be granted entry into the PEP Specialist Stream. Failure to disclose 5.2.ai or 5.2.a.ii will be handled as per the Educational Misconduct Policy.
- a certificate of good standing from all registering authorities with whom the applicant has held medical registration, which is valid at the date of the application for the program being accepted. If the certificate does not have an expiry date, it will be considered valid for six months from the date of issue.
- an offer of a job in comprehensive Australian general practice, as defined in the RACGP’s Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy.
- evidence of an agreement with a suitable supervisor.
5.3 Professional and ethical requirements
Applicants must satisfy the RACGP’s Fit and Proper Fellow Policy.
The decision to grant entry into the PEP Specialist Stream is at RACGP’s absolute discretion.
6.1 Applicants must return a signed Program Agreement to the RACGP preceding official entry into the Program.
6.2 Following entry to the program, participants must commence work in their RACGP approved practice within six calendar months. Participants are considered to have started the program from the day that they commence RACGP-endorsed employment in Australia.
7. Related policies, documents and legislation
All policies and guidance documents related to the PEP Specialist Stream are available on our policy page.
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.