1. Vocational Training Pathway – Requirements for Fellowship Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-004.0
1.2 Category: Education
1.3 Approval date: January 2020
1.4 Revision due date: January 2023
1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services
2. Policy declaration
Registrars in the Vocational Training Pathway must meet the requirements detailed in this policy to be awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP).
This policy is approved by the RACGP Board and authorised by the CEO.
The objective of this policy is to describe the requirements for Fellowship for Registrars in the Vocational Training Pathway.
This policy applies to Registrars in the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program and the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).
For the purposes of this policy:
- Accredited hospital means a hospital accredited by the Postgraduate Medical Education Councils.
- Advanced Life Support has the meaning given in the Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
- Basic Life Support has the meaning given in the Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
- Clinical work involves a doctor having direct contact with, and responsibility for, the assessment and management of patients.
- Extended skills training is a six-month term undertaken for the purpose of extending the depth and breadth of the Registrar’s skill base in areas relevant to primary medical care.
- 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.
- 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
- community-based general practice undertaken in Australia.
This is an abridged definition distilled from the Competency profile of the Australian general practitioner at the point of Fellowship.
- Registrar means a medical practitioner who is enrolled in the Vocational Training Pathway.
- GPT1-3 means the General Practice Training rotations in accredited comprehensive Australian general practices that meet the requirements outlined in 4.d.
5. Requirements for Fellowship
5.1 Education requirements
Registrars must complete:
- A minimum of three years (full time) specialist general practice vocational training and all education requirements in a Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recognised training program, which must include:
- A Basic Life Support (BLS) course completed within the 12 months prior to commencing General Practice Term 1 (GPT1) that meets the requirements detailed in RACGP's Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
- A Basic Life Support (BLS) course completed within the 12 months prior to applying for Fellowship that meets the requirements detailed in RACGP's Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
- Training in advanced life support (ALS) completed within the four years prior to apply for Fellowship that meets the requirements in RACGP's Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Guidance Document.
- RACGP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health unit in the Curriculum to Australian General Practice.
Specialist general practice vocational training may be undertaken full time or part time.
5.2 Experience requirements
Registrars must complete:
- A minimum of one year of hospital rotations post Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) or intern year. The hospital rotations (in combination with PGY1) must:
- Provide the Registrar with adequate exposure to a range of clinical rotations relevant to the discipline of general practice that provide the opportunity to develop the breadth of skills outlined in the RACGP Curriculum (Pre-General Practice)
- Be sufficient to demonstrate an understanding of safe practice, including the recognition and management of the seriously ill patient, prior to commencing GPT1. This must include adequate exposure to the discipline of medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and paediatrics. For further information on fulfilling the required paediatric experience, see RACGP’s Paediatric Term Requirements Guidance Document.
- Be undertaken in an accredited hospital in Australia or New Zealand.
If a rotation was undertaken more than five years prior to the start of GPT1 evidence of competency maintenance is required.
- A minimum of 18 months general practice experience in RACGP accredited general practice training posts under the guidance of an RACGP-accredited supervisor.
- Six months extended skills training approved by the vocational training provider in accordance with the RACGP Standards for General Practice Training.
Extended skills training may be made up of a single post or a combination of posts. When a registrar undertakes a combination of extended skills posts, these must be completed concurrently and together meet the full time or part time requirements below:
- Extended skills training be undertaken in a variety of non-general practice settings, including non-clinical posts, provided that at least 50 per cent of total hours worked within an extended skills post (or in the concurrent combination of extended skills posts) is concurrent clinical work. A concurrent GPT1-3 term cannot be used to fulfil the 50% clinical requirement of an ES post/s, excepting formal academic terms.
- The total number of minimum weekly working hours for extended skills terms are the same as for other terms. This means that full time terms must be undertaken over a minimum of four days per week within a minimum 38-hour working week, and part time terms must be undertaken over a minimum of two days per week within a minimum 14.5-hour working week.
- The exception to (ii) is that the minimum number of hours for a clinical extended skills post which is not in general practice may be less than 14.5 hours per week (but at least 3.5hrs a week), provided that it is done concurrently with another clinical post/s, which, combined, include a minimum of 14.5 hours per week of clinical, rostered, face-to-face patient contact time.
- Posts must be at least four consecutive calendar weeks in duration.
- Non-clinical extended skills posts must not be undertaken prior to completion of GP terms 1 and 2 without prospective approval from the relevant censor.
- A prospective learning plan, mapped against the Curriculum with expected outcomes, is required of each registrar wanting to undertake a non-clinical component of the extended skills term.
- Training experience that involves a diversity of patient presentations in relation to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
- Training experience which involves exposure to at least two different general practice supervisors and two different general practice management systems. For further guidance, please refer to A Guide to Managing Practice Diversity.
5.3 Assessment requirements
- Pass RACGP’s Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), Key Feature Problem (KFP) and Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) within their period of candidature in the AGPT program or RVTS. Candidates must pass the AKT and KFP as a prerequisite to undertaking the OSCE.
- Registrars who are enrolled in an examination but leave the AGPT program or RVTS prior to sitting the examination may be permitted to undertake the examination provided they meet the eligibility requirements detailed in the Vocational Training Pathway – Examination Eligibility Policy.
- Pass all three examination segments within six semesters over three years from the first exam attempt (not including periods of approved leave) in line with the RACGP Reconsiderations and Appeals Policy.
5.4 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 RACGP’s Constitution.
- is generally unsuitable to hold Fellowship of the RACGP as detailed in RACGP’s Fit and Proper Fellow Policy.
5.5 Administrative requirements
- Hold current Australian medical registration at all times while on the Vocational Training Pathway. Registrars must disclose any restrictions on their practise or changes to their medical registration to the RACGP. Failure to do this will be handled as per the Educational Misconduct Policy.
- Be a financial RACGP member from the time of joining the Vocational Training Pathway and throughout their candidature. Further details on how this requirement can be met are available in the Registrar Membership Policy.
- Apply for Fellowship within three years of successful completion of the three examinations in clause 5.3a, and within one year of completion of all pathway requirements.
6. Changing Fellowship Pathway
Registrars can only be enrolled in one RACGP Fellowship pathway at a time. If a Registrar seeks to participate in a different Fellowship pathway, they must resign their candidature in the Vocational Training Pathway and apply for entry into the alternative pathway. If a change in pathway is accepted, the Registrar must then meet all of the requirements of the new pathway to be awarded Fellowship of the RACGP.
7. Awarding of Fellowship of the RACGP
The decision to award Fellowship of the RACGP is held by the RACGP Board and is dependent on the recommendation of the Council of Censors.
8. Related documents
All policies and guidance documents related to the Vocational Training Pathway are available on our policy page.
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.