Policy update notice: Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream and General Practice Experience (GPE) Policies – 21 December 2021


21 December 2021

Notice of RACGP policy update

This notice is to advise that the RACGP has updated the following Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream policies: Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Withdrawal Policy, Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Eligibility Policy, Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Transfer Policy, Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Leave and Extensions Policy and  Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Post-Education Progression Policy. We have also updated the following General Practice Experience pathway policies: Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy and General Practice Experience Pathway - Exam Eligibility Policy. The updated policies come into effect from 4 January 2022, superseding the previous corresponding policies as of 4 January 2022.

What has changed?

Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Withdrawal Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

Subclause 3.1.i has been amended to remove the $100 administration fee deducted from participants if they are withdrawing more than 48 hours before their scheduled Practice Experience Program Entry Assessment (PEPEA).

It has also been amended so participants can withdraw up to 48 hours prior to the PEPEA and be refunded their enrolment fee. Previously the policy stated participants must withdraw more than 19 days prior to the assessment to be provided a refund of their enrolment fee.

This was updated to reflect what was already the case in the Assessment and Examination Candidate Handbook for both the administration fee and the timeframe allowable for withdrawals.

Participants are clear if they withdraw more than 48 hours prior to the PEPEA, they will be refunded their enrolment fee with no administration fee charged.

Subclause 3.1.ii.a has been added increasing the refund for those who are awaiting Fellowship exam results and subsequently withdraw from the PEP Standard prior to the commencement date of the first term because they have received a pass in the Fellowship exams.

We have deemed it suitable to increase the refund for this group of participants to acknowledge the unfortunate misalignment of the release of Fellowship exams and entrance date of the PEP Standard.

Participants who received a pass mark for all Fellowship Exams and withdraw from the PEP Standard prior to the commencement date of the first term will be refunded their co-payment minus a $200 administration fee.

Clause 3.2.ii regarding Re-Entry has been updated to state that participants who withdraw or are withdrawn after the commencement date of the first term of the PEP Standard cannot re-apply or re-enter the program, even if the co-payment has been refunded. The RACGP cannot accept these applications or facilitate re-entry.

As PEP Standard positions are subsidised through the Australian Government’s Non-Vocationally Registered Fellowship Support Program, any participant who has previously accessed this funding cannot re-apply to the program as a subsidised position will not be available. This includes for those who may receive a refund of their co-payment.

Previously, it was unclear that if a candidate is withdrawn or withdraws after the commencement date of the first term of the PEP Standard they cannot re-apply or re-enter the PEP Standard under any circumstances.

Participants who withdraw or are withdrawn from the PEP Standard after the commencement date of the first term of the PEP are clear they cannot re-apply or re-enter the program.

Participants are clear applications for re-entry into the program cannot be accepted.

Amendments have been made to the cooling off period for voluntary withdrawal under clause 4. The cooling off period has been extended from 5 business days to 20 business days.

We recognise that voluntarily withdrawing from the PEP Standard is a substantial decision. The RACGP has made this change to allow participants sufficient time to consider the implications of their voluntary withdrawal and provide them with 20 business days to reconsider their decision.

Participants now have a 20 business day cooling off period from the date of notification to the RACGP of their intent to withdraw from the PEP Standard.

Clause 4.5 and 5.5 have been introduced to clarify that the participants provider number will be withdrawn 20 business days after formal withdrawal has been processed.

We have previously not clarified the timeframe in which a participants provider number will be withdrawn following the formal withdrawal from the PEP Standard.

Participants are clear that their provider number will be withdrawn 20 business days after their withdrawal has been formalised.

Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Eligibility Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

Clause 3.3 has been amended to clarify that those applicants who have previously participated in either the PEP Standard or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Independent Pathway (IP) are not eligible for a position on PEP Standard.

As PEP Standard positions are subsidised through the Australian Government’s Non-Vocationally Registered Fellowship Support Program, any participant who has previously accessed this funding cannot re-apply to the program as a subsidised position will not be available.

Any applicant who has commenced on the first term of these programs is not eligible for a position on PEP Standard as this would be considered a second funded position.

Applicants are clear if they have previously commenced the PEP Standard or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Independent Pathway (IP) they are not eligible for the PEP Standard.

Clause 3.4 has been added to state applicants must have a minimum of one exam semester remaining to complete all Fellowship examinations, if the candidate has previously sat Fellowship Examinations since 2019.

To comply with the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy, candidates have a maximum of six exam semesters over three years to pass the Fellowship Examinations.

If a candidate has previously sat any of the Fellowship exams since 2019, these exam semesters will count towards this maximum period.

Commencing on the PEP Standard will not reset exam candidacy and therefore applicants must have a minimum of one exam semester of their exam candidacy remaining to be eligible for entry.

Applicants must have a minimum of one exam semester remaining to be eligible for entry to the PEP Standard. If they have exhausted their exam candidacy (they have no attempts left) they are not eligible for entry.

Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Post Education Progression Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

Clause 3.1 has been amended to state all PEP Participants must have a valid GPE outcome for the period starting 6 months before the completion of the PEP Standard until they are awarded Fellowship or withdraw from the pathway.

We must be able to monitor the exam eligibility of PEP Standard participants throughout their post-education period of the PEP Standard. Participants must hold a valid GPE outcome to enable to RACGP to monitor this.

Participants must hold a valid GPE outcome 6 months prior to the completion of PEP Standard until they are awarded Fellowship or withdraw from the PEP Standard.

Clause 3.1 has been amended to state participants must commence their exam candidacy as soon as the RACGP confirms they are eligible.

Previously, it was expected that participants commenced their exam candidacy as soon as the RACGP confirmed they were eligible. Therefore, this clause has been amended to clarify that this is the case. This amendment aligns with the requirements of the Practice Experience Program – provider number continuation requirements.

Participants must commence their exam candidacy as soon as they are confirmed eligible by the RACGP.

Clause 3.1 has been amended to state participants with Fellowship exam results that were suspended as part of their exam candidacy suspension while on the PEP Standard, will have the timeframe for expiry recommence as soon as they complete the educational component of the PEP Standard or when the participant becomes exam eligible.

Previously, it was not clear when a participants candidacy would recommence should it have been suspended while on the PEP.

Participants are clear their current Fellowship exam results are suspended as part of their participation in the PEP Standard.

Once a participant has completed the educational component of the PEP or becomes exam eligible (whichever occurs first), the timeframe for the expiry of their exam results will recommence as part of their exam candidacy.

Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Transfer Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

We have updated clause 6 - Responsibilities to reflect the Responsibilities of all parties listed in the policy.

The responsibilities section is standard across all RACGP Education Policies and this policy was amended to reflect this updated format.

All parties are clear of their Responsibilities under this policy.

We have reviewed the policy for consistency across our whole Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.

We are reviewing all policies on a rolling basis to ensure there is clear alignment across the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework, supporting our GPiT, Training Organisations and staff to navigate and apply policies.

 

Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream Leave and Extensions Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

We have updated clause 9 - Responsibilities to reflect the responsibilities of all parties listed in the policy.

The responsibilities section is standard across all RACGP Education Policies and this policy was amended to reflect this updated format.

All parties are clear of their responsibilities under this policy.

We have reviewed the policy for consistency across our whole Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.

We are reviewing all policies on a rolling basis to ensure there is clear alignment across the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework, supporting our GPiT, Training Organisations and staff to navigate and apply policies.

 

Assessment of General Practice Experience Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

The definition for valid outcome has been changed to current outcome. Therefore, we have also changed the reference to valid outcome throughout this policy to current outcome.

This amendment has been made the align this definition across the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework. A current outcome in the context of this policy and other policies may not mean exam eligibility and therefore we have updated this to clarify this is the case.

There are no implications.

General Practice Experience Pathway - Exam Eligibility Policy

Change

Rationale

Implications

We have added the definition of a valid outcome.

This amendment has been made to provide clarity of what a valid outcome means.

There are no implications.

When do the changes take place?

The changes to policy take place from 4 January 2022.

Where can I view the documents?

The revised documents can be accessed here from 4 January 2022:

All policies can be accessed via the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.

What if I have questions?

If you have any enquiries relating to the updated policies, please contact educationpolicy@racgp.org.au.

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