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Important information for RCE candidates on the day of the exam. Read more

Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Substantially Comparable Entry


Important changes

Note: This policy was updated in July 2020 to increase consistency in the program entry requirements across all pathways to Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP). Transitional arrangements will shortly be in place to facilitate eventual full implementation of the new policy by 1 January 2021.

  1. Applicants applying for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream from 1 January 2021 will be required to complete a BLS course within the twelve months prior to applying for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream, and submit evidence of such when they submit their application. Please see clauses 5.1b and 5.2e below;
  2. Applicants applying for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream until and including 31 December 2020 will not be required to satisfy these requirements.

For more details, please see the Policy Update Notice.

1. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Substantially Comparable Entry Policy

1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0036.0

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 substantially comparable must meet the requirements detailed in this policy to be granted entry into the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream.


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 the Specialist Recognition Program (SRP), which superseded the SPP from 2018 to 2019.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 requirements for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream for substantially comparable participants.

3.3 Scope

  1. This policy applies to SIMGs wishing to pursue Fellowship of the RACGP via the PEP Specialist Stream who have been assessed as substantially comparable under the Comparability Assessment.
  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. Applicant means a medical practitioner who is applying for entry onto the PEP Specialist Stream.
  2. 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.
  3. Basic Life Support (BLS) has the meaning given in the Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
  4. 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. Substantially comparable means the applicant has been assessed as suitable to undertake the full scope of practice, taking full responsibility for all patients, with limited oversight of their practice by a supervisor (peer review) and reach comparability within 12 months’ full time equivalent (FTE) practice, with a maximum time on the program of 24 months if working part time.
  5. Comprehensive Australian general practice means:
    1. Continuity of care that is person centred, comprehensive and coordinated; focusing on the whole person, and all presenting symptoms;
    2. Health promotion and illness prevention services that are based on patient need and the best available evidence;
    3. 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
    4. Community-based general practice undertaken in Australia.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Participant means a medical practitioner who has been accepted into the PEP Specialist Stream.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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:

  1. a Comparability Assessment and been assessed as substantially comparable. The process for applying for a Comparability Assessment is detailed in A Guide to Completing the PEP Specialist Stream Comparability Assessment.
  2. a Basic Life Support (BLS) course within the twelve months prior to applying for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream. The requirements are detailed in the Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.

5.2 Application requirements

Applicants must submit a completed application for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream. This application must include:

  1. Evidence of current medical registration in the applicant’s current jurisdiction of practice and 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.

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.a.i or 5.2.a.ii will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

  1. 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.
  2. an offer of a job in comprehensive Australian general practice, as defined in the RACGP’s Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Assessment of Recency Policy.
  3. evidence of an agreement with a suitable supervisor.
  4. evidence of BLS course completion within the twelve months prior to applying for entry into the PEP Specialist Stream.

5.3 Professional and ethical requirements

Applicants must satisfy the Fit and Proper Fellow Policy.


6. Entry

6.1 The decision to grant entry into the PEP Specialist Stream is at RACGP’s absolute discretion.

  1. Applicants must return a signed Program Agreement to the RACGP preceding official entry into the program.
  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.
  3. A program supervisor or practice manager is required to verify participant practice commencement date.

6.2 If an applicant believes that a decision regarding their entry into the PEP Specialist Stream 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.


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.