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AGPT registrar training handbook

Supplementary material

ADF guide

      1. ADF guide

Last revised: 16 Feb 2024



This guide is designed for AGPT registrars who work in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and is a companion document to the AGPT registrar training handbook. 

You should refer to the handbook for other information about your training program that is not included here.


As a general practice registrar who also works in the ADF, you’ll have a unique training experience – meeting the requirements of the AGPT program amidst ADF training, posting and deployment obligations.

You must meet the same requirements of the AGPT program as listed in the AGPT registrar training handbook and the Requirements for Fellowship Policy as all other registrars.

The RACGP ADF team will help you meet these requirements and provide support, such as ADF-specific orientation, mentorship, training planning, transfer management, and arranging recognition of overseas extended skills training posts.

If you’re a full-time member of the ADF you’ll need to complete the same training program requirements as non-ADF registrars and adhere to the AGPT policies. This includes meeting training location obligations and achieving Fellowship in the applicable time frame. You can refer to the AGPT registrar training handbook for details about your obligations.

Service leave for ADF deployment is offered to enable you to complete your ADF requirements (refer to the leave section below).

If you require an exemption to any component of your training program requirements, please discuss with your medical educator or training coordinator.

Hospital training

Hospital training gives you valuable experience in a range of clinical disciplines relevant to general practice. It’s your responsibility to make placement arrangements for the hospital year and notify your program team of the hospital term(s) you plan to complete. You must complete the same hospital training requirements as non-ADF registrars.

As an ADF registrar, we strongly recommend that you focus on gaining paediatric and geriatric experience where possible, as these clinical experiences are often limited due to your ADF commitments.

Comprehensive information about the hospital training requirements for registrars is in the AGPT registrar training handbook.

Community general practice training

ADF registrars are encouraged by each service to spend the PGY3 or later year in a civilian setting, to gain the full breadth of general practice experience.

As part of your core vocational training requirements, you must complete three general practice training terms (GPT 1, 2 and 3). GPT1 and 2 (12 months in total) must be in civilian general practice in a placement that is not a special training environment (STE). This will ensure you gain experience to the full depth and breadth of general practice. As an ADF registrar, we strongly recommend that you focus on gaining paediatric and geriatric experience where possible, as these clinical experiences are often limited due to your ADF commitments. 

During your general practice training terms, you may take a maximum of two weeks per 26-week term to attend accredited ADF medical courses, which will count towards your general practice training time. Refer to the appendix for a list of approved courses.

Working on ADF bases

It’s vital that all registrars gain experience to the full depth and breadth of general practice during their training. The RACGP recognises that ADF registrars often practise in STEs, such as ADF bases, which don’t meet accreditation standards for comprehensive general practice training. Therefore, you can only undertake GPT3 and your extended skills training in an STE. You can choose to do both or just one in an STE. Up to a total of 12 months training in an ADF environment may be counted towards your training time under the STE provisions.

Each STE must be approved by the relevant censor before you start the placement. To seek approval, please discuss with your training coordinator who can liaise with the National Lead Medical Educator – ADF as required.

Extended skills training

You’re required to complete one term (six months) of extended skills training, which gives you an opportunity to either extend your skills in community general practice or pursue an area of interest relevant to general practice. You should discuss any upcoming deployments as soon as possible with your training coordinator.

  • You may undertake up to six months of extended skills training related to your military training, including military exercises within Australia, provided it’s approved by us in accordance with the RACGP Standards for general practice training.
  • You can prospectively apply to do your extended skills training as an overseas deployment if you have completed GPT1 and 2 in Australia. You should discuss this with your training coordinator to ensure you plan to meet any other training obligations while training outside of Australia. The relevant censor will assess applications on a case-by-case basis.

Your application for an extended skills term during overseas deployment must include the following evidence:

  • the nominated post can take registrars,
  • there is appropriate onsite supervision,
  • the post has opportunities for relevant learning, appropriate patient diversity, and a commitment to teaching and to review your teaching plan,
  • the post is safe for you, determined by assessment of your living arrangements and health service infrastructure,
  • an adequate teaching plan, and
  • your supervisor’s current resume and onsite supervisor details and agreement, as required.

Recognising deployments in Australia as general practice training time

From time to time, ADF registrars are deployed and removed from their usual training site for a period of their general practice training term. When this occurs, only deployments or exercises within Australia that meet the requirements for accreditation as a training post (refer to the RACGP Standards for general practice training) will be recognised as general practice training time.

Prospective approval for deployments within Australia should be managed by your regional ADF team. You should discuss your plans with your training coordinator before the deployment begins. If urgent deployment has occurred your team can liaise with the National Lead Medical Educator - ADF. Please note, once a training term is completed retrospective approval can't be given.

As stated previously, you may use deployment as extended skills training; please refer to the section above, Extended skills training.

During the AGPT program, ADF registrars are entitled to a special type of leave known as Category 3 – ADF service leave. This leave applies to ADF training courses or postings. It doesn’t count towards your program time and therefore doesn’t affect your training cap. It’s possible to start the training program on Category 3 leave.

When you apply for Category 3 leave, you’ll need to include relevant supporting documentation, such as course joining instructions or your posting order, for review by the RACGP ADF team.

If you’re an ADF registrar and need to transfer regions due to ADF requirements, the transfer will be managed by the RACGP ADF team on your behalf – you won’t need to make an application.

So we can continue to support your training, you must advise your training coordinator of the need to transfer and provide your posting orders as supporting evidence. The transfer into your new region will commence from the date of posting recorded in your posting orders.

Once you’ve met the requirements of Fellowship, you’ll automatically receive a program time extension of up to 12 calendar weeks to submit your Fellowship application.

As an ADF registrar, if you complete your requirements for Fellowship while on deployment, you may apply for a one-off extension of 12 calendar weeks. The extension time will commence from the date you return from deployment.

The ADF medical courses listed here are approved by the RACGP Council of Censors and can be counted towards comprehensive Australian general practice experience (a maximum of two weeks per 26-week term). If you require flexibility in the amount of time spent on ADF medical courses, please discuss with your medical educator. Other courses may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) Course

The AME Course is conducted over four weeks and addresses the clinical aspects and practical implications of transporting patients by air, and the technical aspects of aircraft preparation for AME use. The course covers theory and practical phases for the C-17, C-27 and C-130 and may be run at RAAF Amberley and RAAF Richmond. 

The course covers: 

  • aviation physiology 
  • clinical aspects of AME 
  • organisational aspects of AME 
  • AME aircraft operations 
  • AME equipment 
  • AME missions 
  • patient evacuation.

There are ten summative assessments required for successful completion of the AME course – seven knowledge and three performance assessments.  

Aviation Medical Officers (AVMO) Course

The AVMO course is conducted over four and a half weeks and prepares ADF Medical Officers to work as Aviation Medical Officers (AVMO). ADF AVMO are required to assess and manage the health of ADF aircrew and other aviation personnel, provide advice to ADF commanders on aviation medicine and how this impacts military capability, and provide medical support to ADF flying operations. The course is provided to military, civilian and international students. In addition to meeting ADF capability requirements, completion of the AVMO course qualifies the ADF MO as a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) in accordance with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements. 

The course covers: 

  • introduction to aerospace medicine 
  • aerospace physiology and environment 
  • clinical aerospace medicine 
  • operational aerospace medicine 
  • human factors and accident response.

Students on the AVMO course undertake practical training in symptoms of hypoxia, spatial disorientation, water survival and air traffic control tower experience. 

Please note, as this course is more than four weeks in length, you will need to make up the remaining half week in comprehensive Australian general practice.  

Medical Officer Underwater Medicine (MOUM) Course

The MOUM course is conducted over ten days and provides the ADF MO with an understanding of the range of potential medical problems faced by divers. Considerable emphasis is placed on the diving medical and the contraindications to diving, together with the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of the more common diving-related illnesses. Although designed to meet ADF capability requirements, it also qualifies the ADF MO to undertake dive medical examinations for recreation and commercial purposes. 

The course covers:

  • how the laws of physics apply to diving 
  • how the physical properties of diving affect human physiology 
  • diving equipment 
  • barotrauma, its prevention and treatment 
  • problems associated with the use of air, oxygen, heliox and nitrox breathing gases 
  • decompression illness, its pathophysiology, clinical presentation and management 
  • how to perform a recreational and occupational diving medical examination 
  • requirements of a therapeutic recompression chamber and its life support systems 
  • deep diving 
  • hypothermia and its clinical management 
  • diving tables and dive computers 
  • dangerous marine animals and appropriate clinical management 
  • diving accidents and how to prevent them.

During the course students are also introduced to clinical hyperbaric medicine and submarine medicine. 

The course also provides an update on current resuscitation

Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST)

EMST is a three-day* intensive course in the management of injury victims in the first 1–2 hours following injury. It aims to train ADF Medical officers in the knowledge and skills to care for personnel in acute, life-threatening emergencies.

The course covers:

  • theory
  • practical management
  • treatment priorities
  • care of severe trauma patients.

The course is conducted by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons using a combination of civilian and ADF instructors (accredited by RACS).

Formative assessments include a pre-course multiple-choice question (MCQ) test and practical assessments during the course. Summative assessments include a summative theory assessment (MCQ) and a practical assessment at the end of the course. 

* The RACS EMST course is over two days. ADF members complete an additional day of training (combining practical skills and theory) to contextualise EMST to the ADF operational environment.