Pathway to Fellowship changing for IMGs

Morgan Liotta

13/06/2019 4:27:43 PM

newsGP addresses some key questions regarding changes for international medical graduates who want to practise in Australia.

PEP Specialist Stream
The RACGP provides a number of regularly updated resources to support the upcoming changes to attaining Fellowship.

From 1 September 2019, the RACGP Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream will replace the current Specialist Recognition Program (SRP), bringing with it significant changes for specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs).
The PEP Specialist Stream is a 3GA workforce program that allows doctors to access the highest Medicare benefits while working towards Fellowship.
Under the new program, the RACGP will no longer award Fellowship ad eundem gradum (FAEG) to SIMGs categorised as substantially comparable. Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) will only be awarded once all program requirements have been met. Doctors are then eligible to apply for specialist registration.
The PEP will eventually replace all other programs on the pathway to Fellowship, with the exception of the government-funded Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program, which is due to return to the RACGP by the end of 2021.
newsGP spoke with Dr Jennifer McConnell, RACGP Coordinating Censor of the PEP, to answer some key questions.
Why are these changes to the program occurring to remove FAEG?
In 2015, the Medical Board of Australia introduced best practice guidelines for the assessment of SIMGs. The guidelines support specialist medical colleges, including the RACGP, to assess SIMGs for comparability to an Australian-trained specialist. Removing FAEG allows the RACGP to facilitate a comprehensive and responsive assessment of SIMGs and ensure a uniform approach to the assessment process.
How will the changes affect specialist international medical graduates?
From 1 September, SIMGs will no longer be granted immediate recognition as a specialist and will work under limited or provisional registration while working towards Fellowship. SIMGs will be issued a provider number through the RACGP.
The RACGP recognises that SIMGs are internationally qualified GPs and, under the PEP Specialist Stream, they will complete educational modules as well as a workplace-based assessment. The aim is to support professional development and provide feedback on individual progress towards Fellowship.
Partially comparable applicants must still successfully complete the RACGP exams: Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), Key Feature Problem (KFP) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to be eligible for Fellowship.

Dr Jennifer McConnell is the RACGP Coordinating Censor of PEP.

What are the benefits of removing FAEG?
Removal of FAEG means SIMGs will be working towards FRACGP – the same award as Australian-qualified Fellows.
The program will support SIMGs with their orientation into the local health system and to become familiar with Australian general practice, while undertaking a period of supervision.
This aligns the RACGP processes with those of other speciality medical colleges and meets the requirements of the Medical Board of Australia.
How long will it take to complete the Fellowship requirements?
The time taken to complete Fellowship requirements is 6–24-month full-time equivalent (FTE) and is determined by the comparability outcome – categorised as partially or substantially comparable. Doctors who choose to work part time may take up to two years (substantially comparable) or four years (partially comparable).
If a GP’s comparability outcome is substantially comparable, they will be required to achieve Fellowship within 12 months of working full time. If partially comparable, they will be required to achieve FRACGP within 24 months of working full time – this includes successful completion of the RACGP examinations.
Visit the RACGP website for further information about the PEP Specialist Stream.

AGPT Program Fellowship IMGs PEP specialist pathways

newsGP weekly poll As an international medical graduate, what was your primary reason for wanting to practise in Australia?

newsGP weekly poll As an international medical graduate, what was your primary reason for wanting to practise in Australia?



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Dr Zainab Ozeer   16/06/2019 11:08:09 AM

I agree with this ruling since most Doctors applying under the specialist pathway to become GP,s are from the sub continent , China , Middle East, Eastern European block, and Asia . Except for the UK and Ireland, Canada , the GP does not have rigorous training and strict rules in those countries. It is safer for Australia to have strict rules Re the registration of these doctors and they MUST do the fellowship to earn their fellowship.

Dr Elizabeth Lee Clark   22/06/2019 7:16:19 AM

Expecting Uk, Irish and Canadian GP Specialists to repeat exams is overkill, and unnecessary. It sounds like a money grab.

Dr M Smith   22/06/2019 3:04:08 PM

It sounds Reasonable.
Hopefully new fellows of RACGP will be worth of the degree they are awarded.