1. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable Requirements for Fellowship Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0041.0
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
Partially comparable participants enrolled in the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream must meet the requirements detailed in this policy to be awarded Fellowship of the RACGP.
3. Background, objectives 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- the Specialist Recognition Program (SRP), which superseded the SPP from 2018 to 2019.
- 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 aims to describe the requirements for Fellowship for partially comparable participants of the PEP Specialist Stream.
- This policy applies to partially comparable SIMGs enrolled in the PEP Specialist Stream, and outlines the requirements these participants must meet in order to obtain Fellowship.
- 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:
- 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 participant has been assessed as suitable to undertake work in general practice in a supervised capacity and reach comparability within 24 months’ full time equivalent (FTE) 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.
- 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.
- Participant means a medical practitioner who has been accepted into the PEP Specialist Stream.
- Multi Source Feedback (MSF) consists of three components – a colleague feedback assessment tool, a patient assessment tool, and a reflective task.
- PEP Specialist Stream menas the route to Fellowship available to SIMGs who have been assessed as substantially or partially comparable to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of Fellowship.
- RACGP Fellowship examinations means the exams which, as determined by the RACGP, assess a candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia. They include the:
- Applied Knowledge Test (AKT);
- Key Feature Problem (KFP); and
- 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).
- 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.
- Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) provides a framework for evaluating a doctors’ 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. Requirements for Fellowship
5.1 Experience requirements
Participants must complete at least six months’ FTE comprehensive general practice, as approved in advance by the RACGP, under supervision during their candidature in the program. Participants may work part time, but must meet the part time requirements as detailed in clause 4 and the Medical Board of Australia’s program duration requirements.
5.2 Education requirements
- provide evidence of a Basic Life Support (BLS) course completed within the 12 calendar months prior to applying for Fellowship. The requirements are detailed in the Basic and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document;
- provide evidence of training in the early management of trauma and advanced life support (ALS) completed within the four years prior to applying for Fellowship. The requirements are detailed in the Basic and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document; and
- complete a Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) program, to be undertaken any time after the participant has worked three months’ FTE in comprehensive general practice.
5.3 Assessment requirements
Participants must pass the RACGP Fellowship examinations within 24 months’ FTE of the date of program commencement. Candidates are also subject to restrictions on exam attempts in accord with the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.
5.4 Adminsitrative requirements
To be eligible to undertake the examinations, participants must:
- Hold current Australian medical registration from the date of commencing work in Australian general practice and throughout their candidature. Participants must promptly disclose 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.
Participants with restrictions on their medical registration or any other regulatory activity may not be eligible for exams. Failure to disclose 5.5.a.i or ii will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.
- Maintain financial membership of the RACGP from the time of entering the PEP Specialist Stream until the award of their Fellowship certificate or their withdrawal from the program;
- Achieve Fellowship within 24 months' FTE of commencing employment, with a maximum time on the program of 48 months if working part time; and
- Apply for Fellowship within one year of successful completion of all of the requirements of the program.
Participants who fail to meet the requirements of the PEP Specialist Stream or who fail to maintain adequate progression may be withdrawn from the program.
5.5 Professional and ethical requirements
The RACGP reserves the right to withhold awarding an applicant Fellowship of the RACGP, if the RACGP reasonably considers the relevant applicant:
- would be at risk of breaching clause 27 of the RACGP’s Constitution; or
- is generally unsuitable to hold Fellowship of the RACGP as detailed in the Fit and Proper Fellow Policy.
If a participant believes that a decision regarding their attainment of, or eligibility for Fellowship 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.