Placement process and employment procedures
General practice placements begin in the second year of training (GPT1). Registrars must complete three general practice training terms (18 months full-time equivalent [FTE]) in at least two different posts as part of their core vocational training requirements.
The placement of registrars in accredited general practices occurs every six months and is finalised before each training semester begins. Our aim is to match registrars to a practice that will give them the best learning experience.
The registrar placement process is designed to create flexibility and choice for both registrars and practices. It takes into account preferences, training needs and program obligations, while also addressing the primary healthcare needs of communities, strengthening quality standards and capabilities of training facilities, and ensuring practices participating in the training program have equitable access to registrars.
Becoming an accredited training practice doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a general practice registrar placed with you. Registrar numbers fluctuate between terms, and sometimes the number of registrars is fewer than the number of practices. To provide the best possible opportunity for accredited training practices to have registrars placed, the RACGP balances the number of practices accredited with the number of registrars.
Placement is subject to the availability of registrars, funding, equity of distribution and the suitability of the practice. Therefore, while every effort is made to ensure the needs of priority areas of workforce shortage are met, the RACGP doesn’t guarantee that a registrar will be placed in a practice in each or any calendar year. Practices are expected to be ready to accept and train registrars at any stage of training, particularly those on their first placement. All practices are expected to participate in registrar training including full participation in the RACGP placement process during each accreditation cycle and be willing to train the full range of registrars, including GPT1 and 2 registrars, unless the RACGP has applied conditions to the contrary. Gaps in seeking registrars for more than two consecutive terms may impact accreditation unless there are unforeseen and extenuating circumstances.
For more information, please refer to the Placement Policy.
Conflicts of interest
If a registrar has any type of close personal relationship with a staff member at a practice, we must be notified of this potential conflict of interest as detailed in the Conflicts of Interest Guidance. Usually, registrars are not placed at a practice if there is a significant pre-existing relationship with the supervisor, practice owner or practice manager.
We also prefer not to place a registrar at a practice if they have a significant pre-existing relationship with another staff member (eg practice nurse, administrative staff, other GP).
Consideration should be given to mitigation strategies to manage the power imbalance present between a practice-owner supervisor and a registrar. For example, can assessments be completed by another supervisor, or can employment matters be managed by the practice manager?
Employing a registrar
Completing an employment agreement
While in the AGPT program, a registrar must be an employee of the practice where they work; they can’t work as a contractor.
Before the registrar commences work at your practice, you’ll need to finalise the agreement and terms and conditions of employment with them. This employment agreement is between the practice (the employer) and the registrar. We encourage registrars to contact the practice manager to start the process as soon as they receive their placement information.
All registrar employment agreements must meet the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER). The NTCER outlines the minimum employment conditions that practices must meet, including working hours, supervision and educational release arrangements, pay rates, leave allowances and other support.
General Practice Supervision Australia (GPSA) has useful resources for supervisors and practices about the NTCER, including an employment contract template.
Completing the RACGP placement agreement
Before each general practice training term, you and your registrar will complete the RACGP placement agreement. We’ll send this to you before the placement starts.
The placement agreement includes details of the placement, employment, supervision, education and training. Both you and the registrar must agree to and sign this agreement before the term begins.
If the registrar needs any help with this process, their training coordinator can support them. If you require help to complete the contract, you can contact your practice manager liaison officer. GPSA also has helpful information on their website or you can contact them for support on 03 9607 8590.
Applying for a Medicare provider number
Registrars must have a Medicare provider number before they start a general practice training term. They must apply using the AGPT Provider Number Application form, and the practice manager needs to complete some details on the form as well.
Services Australia will process the application and send the registrar their Medicare provider number by mail. It’s a registrar’s responsibility to notify you and us of their Medicare provider number details.
What if a registrar works in multiple placements?
A Medicare provider number uniquely identifies both the registrar and the place they work. They must have a separate provider number for each training site (eg branches of your practice). They can’t use a single Medicare provider number across multiple sites.
How long does it take to get a Medicare provider number?
It can take up to eight weeks once a completed form is submitted for the provider number to be mailed to the registrar. Where possible, we encourage the registrar to complete this form as promptly as possible. To assist, wherever possible you should also complete the required practice details as soon as possible. Services Australia has a strict process to ensure fairness for all applicants and the RACGP is unable to influence the processing times.
Medicare cannot and will not backdate applications received after a registrar commences work. Registrars must have a provider number before beginning the placement.
What happens if a registrar doesn’t receive a Medicare provider number in time for a placement?
If they don’t have a provider number it may mean they can’t start work as they won’t be able to bill Medicare and their patients won’t be able to claim the Medicare rebate.
What if a registrar changes training sites?
If a registrar moves training sites, they must apply for a new provider number.
Will the practice be notified of the registrar’s Medicare provider number?
No. Services Australia will only send the provider number to the registrar. It’s their responsibility to notify you and us of their provider number as soon as they receive it. If they don’t provide it to you or us, they may not be able to start in practice as planned.
For how long is a Medicare provider number valid?
Services Australia issues Medicare provider numbers for six or 12 months. A registrar must reapply to ensure they maintain a provider number throughout their training. It is a registrar’s responsibility to monitor when their Medicare provider number is due to expire.