Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable Exam Eligibility

1. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Exam Eligibility Policy

1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0039.0

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

Participants enrolled in the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream must meet the requirements detailed in this policy to be eligible to undertake the examinations.

3. Background, objectives and scope

3.1 Background

  1. 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:
    1. the Specialist Pathway Program (SPP), which ran from 2010 to 2018, and categorised SIMGs as Category 1, 2 or 3, or not comparable; and
    2. the Specialist Recognition Program (SRP), which superseded the SPP from 2018 to 2019.
  2. 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.

3.2 Objectives

This policy aims to describe the exam eligibility requirements for partially comparable participants of the PEP Specialist Stream.

3.3 Scope

  1. This policy applies to partially comparable SIMGs enrolled in the PEP Specialist Stream, and outlines the examination eligibility requirements of these participants.
  2. This policy and associated policies will supersede the existing SRP as from 1 September 2019.
  3. 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.

4. Definitions

For the purposes of this policy:

  1. 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.
    1. Partially comparable means the participant has been assessed as suitable to undertake work in general 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Participant means a medical practitioner who has been accepted into the PEP Specialist Stream.
  5. Multi Source Feedback (MSF) consists of three components – a colleague feedback assessment tool, a patient assessment tool, and a reflective task.
  6. 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.
  7. Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) provides a framework for evaluating a doctor’s performance and progress in those areas of practice best assessed in the context of the workplace. The aim is to provide evidence that the SIMG is competent for unsupervised practice in Australia. The WBA program will include MSF, clinical assessment, a learning unit reflection task, and supervisor reports.

5. Eligibility requirements

5.1 Education and assessment requirements

To be eligible to undertake the examinations, participants must:

  1. Complete the Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) program, to be undertaken any time after the participant has worked three months’ FTE in comprehensive general practice; and
  2. Provide supervisor reports to the RACGP within six months of commencing work, as required by the Medical Board of Australia.

5.2 Adminsitrative requirements

To be eligible to undertake the examinations, participants must:

  1. Hold current Australian medical registration and have promptly disclosed all details of any past or present:
    1. Restrictions on or changes to their medical registration; and
    2. 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.

Participants with restrictions on their medical registration or any other regulatory activity may not be eligible for exams. Failure to disclose 5.2.a.i or 5.2.a.ii will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

  1. be a financial RACGP member from the time of joining the PEP Specialist Stream and throughout their candidature.
  2. have completed a minimum of six months’ full time equivalent clinical experience in an approved comprehensive Australian general practice by the date of the exam. Participants may enrol in exams before completing six months in practice, provided that this requirement is completed by the time the first exam is undertaken.

6. Change in eligibility status

If after enrolment in an examination a participant becomes ineligible for that examination, they must promptly inform the RACGP and withdraw. Failure to do this will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

7. Reconsideration

If a participant believes that a decision regarding their exam eligibility 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.

8. Related policies, documents and legislation

All related policies are available here.

All related guidance documents are available here.

9. Administrative procedures

9.1 Access to published policy

This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 8.

9.2 Promulgation of published policy

Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.

9.3 Review of this policy

This policy will have a review cycle of three years.