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RACGP urges eligible doctors to sign up for PEP


Matt Woodley


14/10/2021 5:30:24 PM

The course provides access to full A1 Medicare rebates, support and mentoring from medical educators, and an optional exam preparation course.

Doctor talking with staff.
PEP is largely practice-based and is designed to enable doctors to remain working in their community.

From January 2022, doctors seeking to sit the exams required to become a specialist GP will need to be on an approved training pathway, such as the Practice Experience Program (PEP).
 
As such, rural and remote practitioners who do not yet have specialist qualifications are being encouraged to join the PEP in order to access A1 Medicare rebates and become specialist GPs.
 
The education program is largely practice-based and is designed to enable doctors to remain working in their community, while expanding their skills in specialist general practice.
 
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said the drive to boost specialist GPs in rural Australia is needed more than ever.
 
‘The shortage of specialist GPs in rural and remote Australia is dire, and the pandemic and restrictions on travel have made matters worse,’ he said.
 
‘As the peak body for GPs in every corner of the country, increasing the number of highly trained GPs in rural Australia is the RACGP’s top priority.
 
‘This is a great opportunity for doctors who want to achieve Fellowship as a specialist GP in Australia, including overseas trained doctors.’
 
 The incoming change, which will bring general practice in line with other medical specialties, appears to have the support of GPs, with 54% of respondents to a recent newsGP weekly poll in favour of the new system.
 
Participants in the RACGP’s PEP enjoy access to full A1 Medicare rebates, support and mentoring from an experienced network of medical educators, and an optional exam preparation course delivered by experienced RACGP examiners in the last term.
 
Dr Clements said a June survey of PEP participants also reinforced that overseas trained doctors see great value in the program, as the most common location of a primary medical degree among participants was India (11%), followed by Australia (9.1%) and Sri Lanka (8.7%).
 
‘Joining PEP will put these doctors on the path to Fellowship, building their skills and knowledge, and furthering their career in rural and remote Australia, while accessing A1 Medicare rebates,’ he said.
 
‘It’s also great for rural and remote communities. The research shows that doctors who train in rural Australia are more likely to remain working and living there because they get the opportunity to see the benefits for themselves.
 
‘A survey of our PEP participants in June this year found the overwhelming majority, 88%, want to remain working in rural or remote Australia.’
 
As a rural GP himself, Townsville-based Dr Clements said he knows the ‘rich rewards’ of a rural career and lifestyle.
 
‘Rural and remote communities often rely on their local GP because there are no other local health services, so there’s great variety to our work and practice,’ he said.
 
‘Rural GPs also tend to have stronger and longer relationships with our patients. And this is what tends to attract medical students to general practice in the first place – it’s the only medical speciality where you get to provide holistic care to someone throughout their life, not only helping them when they’re sick, but providing preventive care to keep them well.
 
‘My message to doctors who want to achieve Fellowship as a specialist GP and haven’t yet joined a training program is simple: don’t wait, PEP is a great option and if you join now, you’ll be ahead of the changes coming in January.’
 
Applications for the next intake of the RACGP’s PEP-Standard program close on 25 October.
 
More information is available on the RACGP website.
 
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overseas trained doctors PEP Practice Experience Program remote rural


newsGP weekly poll Which of the RACGP’s 2022 Advocacy Priorities would most benefit your practice?
 
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64%
 
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newsGP weekly poll Which of the RACGP’s 2022 Advocacy Priorities would most benefit your practice?

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Dr Hussam Waleed Mohammed Al-Bajalan   15/10/2021 11:49:34 AM

PEPEA is really affecting our mentality
As we do not know how to prepare for it and what is the marking criteria
Also Last time I failed and got F1 which is just bellow the passing
I felt very upset , with all the hassle and the pressure and then we have this issue


Dr Peter JD Spafford   15/10/2021 9:39:42 PM

No thanks. Having to constantly supervise students, registrars and then other doctors is why being a rural GP was no longer sustainable for me. Send PEP doctors to urban practices where there is support, socially and professionally.