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RACGP Fellowship - new pathway for IMGs

6 minutes read time Categories: Regulatory & Migration

A new pathway to RACGP Fellowship for IMGs- SRP closing 31 August 2019

Female GP with Stethoscope at desk | Wavelength Medical Recruitment

The current Specialist Recognition Pathway (SRP) is being replaced by a New Practice Experience Program-Specialist Stream (PEP-Specialist), which allows substantially and partially comparable doctors to work toward fellowship.

From 1 September 2019, overseas trained specialist GPs will no longer be able to apply for reciprocal RACGP fellowship - Fellowship ad eundeum gradum (FAEG) before commencing work in Australia.


What are the changes?

Eligible specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) will still undertake a comparability assessment (as they do under SRP) but will then apply for limited registration (as opposed to specialist) with the Medical Board of Australia. Eligible SIMGs will then work towards Fellowship in an approved position, with a period of up to 24 months full-time equivalent (FTE) practice under peer review, the length of which is determined by the comparability outcome.

While they complete the new program, SIMGs will be issued a Medicare provider number through the RACGP to enable access to the full Medicare rebate (A1 rates). Upon completion of all Fellowship requirements, SIMGs will be awarded FRACGP.

To be awarded fellowship:

Substantially comparable doctors will complete 12 months (FTE) peer review within 24 months of starting employment in an approved position. 

Partially comparable doctors have a total of four calendar years to complete up to 24 months (FTE) of supervised practice/ upskilling and pass the RACGP examinations. The maximum time starts from the date of commencing employment in a RACGP approved practice.


What additional requirements do I need to complete?

In addition to a period of peer review, requirements before attaining Fellowship include:

1. RACGP core module and units including a self- reflective activity (as per the current process)

2. Workplace-based assessment (as per the current process)

3. Supervisor reports at required intervals

4. Examinations for partially comparable doctors, or substantially comparable doctors who fail two workplace based assessments.


What does the Workplace-based assessment involve?

The Workplace-based assessment (WBA) is already a requirement under the current SRP.

The WBA must be completed within 3-6 months (FTE) of starting work in Australia. It consists of three components including a multi-source feedback (MSF) report, a clinical assessment visit and clinical case analysis. The MSF comprises a colleague feedback assessment tool and a self-reflection tool collectively known as Colleague Feedback Evaluation Tool (CFET) and a patient assessment tool referred to as a Doctors Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire (DISQ).

In the clinical assessment visit, a medical educator will observe the doctor across a minimum of four patients and provide feedback on consultations along with a random case analysis. The Clinical Case Analysis is a discussion of two case studies and feedback conducted via teleconferencing with a medical educator.

Substantially comparable and partially comparable doctors must complete the WBA. The feedback from the WBA is intended to provide guidance to partially comparable doctors through successful completion of the RACGP examinations.


What if the WBA is not completed successfully?

Substantially comparable SIMGs who do not satisfactorily complete all three areas of the WBA will be given the opportunity to complete an additional WBA. Doctors will receive constructive feedback about performance from a medical educator and will be notified about what WBA component(s) require a second review. If the WBA is not satisfactorily completed on the second attempt, the doctor will no longer be recognised as substantially comparable. The doctor will be recognised as partially comparable and will be required to complete the RACGP examinations.

Prior to sitting exams, partially comparable doctors must complete six months (FTE) in comprehensive Australian general practice in a RACGP-approved job and complete the WBA.


What locations can I work in?

You must have a job offer in general practice in an MMM2-7 location to join the program and you will be eligible to apply through RACGP for a Medicare provider number with access to the A1 rebate once you have been granted AHPRA limited registration. This means that a job outside of metropolitan areas is required. You can access a locator map here: http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/locator


How do I access a provider number?

The RACGP has advised that they will issue provider numbers directly to eligible SIMGs. The job offer will need to be approved by the RACGP and AHPRA registration finalised before the provider number application is submitted. RACGP has advised that applications can take up twelve weeks to process and are only granted for the approved job/practice. If an applicant changes practices, they will need to reapply and have their new practice approved. While they complete the new program, SIMGs will be issued a Medicare provider number through the RACGP to enable access to the full Medicare rebate, just as in the current process for substantially comparable doctors, and partially comparable doctors will also be eligible. This means you will still be able to bill the top rates (A1 Medicare rebates) under the new pathway.


Why do I need to get my job offer approved?

RACGP will issue provider numbers to SIMGs whose job offer meets the RACGP definition of comprehensive general practice and is located in a Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2-7 location (non-metropolitan). Even if you have a Health Workforce Certificate for visa purposes you will still need your job offer approved by the RACGP.


When does the new PEP-Specialist commence?

The PEP-Specialist program opens on 1 September 2019.


When should I submit my application to still be considered under the SRP for FAEG before the changes?

Complete applications (with all supporting documentation) must be submitted & and payment received by the RACGP before the deadline of 31 August 2019, however, we recommend submitting a month prior to this deadline to ensure your application is considered complete.


If you are considering a move to Australia please get in touch with our experienced GP team or Register your details today and a member of our team will be in touch!

Or you can access advice from our in-house Regulatory and Migration team: rms@wave.com.au