What is the Fellowship Support Program (FSP)?
RACGP’s Fellowship Support Program is a self-funded education and training program that will replace the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Standard Stream as PEP officially ends in June 2023. This program reinforces RACGP’s objective of supporting doctors who aspire to complete their Fellowship via the General Practice Experience (GPE) Pathway.
What are the Key Information about the FSP?
- This is a self-funded program which means RACGP will run the program independently, with no financial support from the government.
- It is a 24-month program prior to sitting Fellowship exams which means it is divided into 4 semesters (one semester is equivalent to 6 calendar months). Participants who have completed the program may then prepare and achieve the requirements of sitting on Fellowship exams.
- There are two intakes per year – one at the beginning of the year and the other one in mid year. First intake began 23 January 2023.
- The Candidate Assessment and Applied Knowledge Test (CAAKT) is no longer needed for FSP.
- Second intake will be on 3 July 2023
- Third intake will be on 8 January 2024
Recently, we received an update that you may be able to apply to have your Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessed in certain circumstances. Depending on how this assessment goes, your time in the program could be reduced by six months (from 24 to 18 months). You can apply for RPL after the first six months of your program.
Am I Eligible?
To participate on FSP, you need to meet the following criteria as documented by RACGP:
- Australian or New Zealand Citizenship, or Temporary or Permanent resident.
- General, provisional (supervision level 2 and above via Competent Authority Pathway or via Standard Pathway with AMC Certificate) or limited (supervision level 2 and above) categories only.
- Must be employed or have a job offer in a practice in an MMM 2-7 location at the time of application.
- Must work in a training location that complies with the General Practice Fellowship Program Placement Guidelines (if a Provider Number under the FSP is required).
- Any Fellowship program like the FSP must follow the placement guidelines set by the Department of Health. This means FSP is particularly made for GPs whose placements are in MM2-7 areas. Applications of doctors who wish to join FSP but are employed in an MM1 area will be subject to approval of exceptional circumstances.
- Must have a minimum of one exam semester remaining to complete all Fellowship examinations, as per the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy.
- Applicants may have multiple attempts to the AKT and KFP exams. However they need to pass the exams in their fifth semester and dedicate their sixth and final semester to their clinical exams.
- Must submit a new application for every intake they apply for. They cannot continue with an incomplete application from a previous intake.
What do I need to prepare for the application process?
Similar to other enrolment requirements, you need to prepare basic contact details:
- primary medical degree
- current Australian Medical Registration
- accreditation status of current (or intended) practice
All related documentation must be attached to support your details written on your application.
How do I apply?
RACGP has set these three stages to FSP application process:
- Step 1 – Application and Eligibility
- Eligibility will include a review of medical qualifications and registration status, exam candidacy, location, and classification of practice.
- Step 2 – Confirmation of supervisor details
- Candidates must give the details of their supervisor at the point of application and the RACGP will confirm it at least three months before the program begins.
- No supervisor before Program Agreements are given means no FSP.
- Step 3 – Training program offer and agreement
- Eligible applicants will be provided with the opportunity to apply for RACGP Fellowship program provider number, a Training Program Agreement, and an invoice for the first term in the program. Instructions would be given and should be followed along with the submission of the three previously mentioned in order to proceed with the program.
Applications to FSP will require enrolment fees. Applicants will have to pay program fees at the start of each semester. Click here to see the exact fees needed for FSP.
Note for Registrars
Once you have been deemed eligible to be part of the FSP program, you will also be advised on the national entry assessment whether or not you still need to sit the Candidate Assessment and Applied Knowledge Test (CAAKT-FSP). The CAAKT will depend on the available slots and the number of applicants. If the program has more applicants, then an additional criteria will be applied, including the CAAKT-FSP, consideration of rurality, and previous general practice experience.
Please be reminded that your candidacy period will be paused while you are participating in the FSP program, and you should also have a valid General Practice Experience (GPE) assessment that meets all exam eligibility criteria at the time of enrolment and for the exam. This should be checked six months before your exam date.
You are also only required to have a supervisor at your FSP approved practice/s. There are no supervision requirements if you are working elsewhere that is separate from your FSP program. However, if you are changing or adding an additional practice under the FSP program, then you need to notify RACGP via the change in circumstance form for change of practice and change of supervisor. A change of practice or supervisor does not mean you have to start all over again for assessments, you will continue on as you were from their previous practice.
Please note that the following tip is from RACGP: The registrar can either be a contractor or an employee since there is no stipulation about it.
We reached out to GPRA about this tip and this is what they stated: For payments to FSP registrars, the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER) is a fair and sustainable basis for registrar employment that supports high-quality training and the safe delivery of high-quality primary healthcare services for the community. The NTCER applies to the employment of GP registrars in GPT1/CGT1, GPT2/CGT2, GPT3/CGT3 and GPT4/CGT4 who are not covered by the Medical Practitioners Award 2010 or any other applicable award or industrial instrument. The NTCER also sets out the minimum conditions for registrars employment, these conditions can be applied to FSP trainees for their employment contracts.
Note for Practices
There is a personal FSP portal to track the progress of a registrar where their documents like Workplace Based Assessments and Progress Reports are uploaded. Only the registrar and their supervisor will have access to the FSP portal, so approved practices do not need to provide reports regarding an FSP registrar. Note that the practice is not required to complete any reports as the duties of the supervisor do not affect the practice. However, practices are encouraged to support their registrars by giving technical support and booking of patient consultations during their WBAs. You can read more about the expectations of training sites and supervisors in the FSP Training Site & Supervisor Handbook.
For offsite supervision, please note that an offsite supervisor will still need to complete the WBAs and progress reports during an FSP registrar’s time with the program, according to the FSP Training Site and Supervisor Handbook. Onsite supervision is still the preference, but the RACGP will consider offsite supervision due to exceptional circumstances. Supervisors can only supervise up to 3 registrars across the AGPT and FSP Training pathways.
Under the employment of the registrar, FSP registrars can either be contractors or employees. The National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars also does not cover the requirements towards being an FSP.—Please note that this advice is directly from RACGP. This is not in relation to PayRoll tax recommendations and you need to seek advice from their accountant should you need assistance.
Note: The information presented above has been sourced from RACGP web pages and the new guidelines have been updated as of 27.06.2023.
Please visit the following links for more information about the Fellowship Support Program:
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