Specialist Pathway for General Practice

General Practice Australia | Specialist Pathway | People Medical

The Specialist pathways are for the following international medical graduates (IMGs):

  • Overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition) 
  • Overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (area of need)

IMGs who have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) and who have satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise in their field of specialty in their country of training, can apply for assessment under this pathway (specialist recognition or area of need).

Please keep in mind that as an International Medical Graduate you will be required to work in a Distribution Priority Area for a moratorium of 10 years.

How do I start this pathway?

You must first apply to ECFMG for primary source verification of your medical qualifications. You can apply here: https://www.ecfmg.org/

You will then need to create a AMC Portfolio. AMC will then request your ECFMG results on your behalf and list it in your portfolio. You can create your portfolio here: https://www.amc.org.au/assessment/amc-portfolio/ 

You will then need to apply directly to either ACRRM or RACGP using the college application form.

The college assesses comparability against the criteria for an Australian-trained specialist in the same field of speciality practice.

The college will assess you as either:

  • Not comparable, or 
  • Substantially comparable, or 
  • Partially comparable

Following assessment, you will be required to undertake a period of supervised practice, which may involve the completion of workplace based assessment(s) or further training, and college assessment, including examinations. 

After the IMG has completed all the college requirements, the college can recommend that the IMG be granted recognition as a specialist.

ACRRM SPECIALIST PATHWAY

Specialist International Medical Graduates (SIMGs), before applying to the College Specialist Pathway, are required to:

  • meet the Medical Board of Australia – Registration Standards
  • have applied to the AMC for Primary Source Verification (PSV) of their primary and specialist medical qualifications.
  • meet ACRRM eligibility requirements

Once these requirements have been met the SIMG applies to ACRRM for assessment of comparability by completing the application form and providing all relevant documents. ACRRM will assess you as either substantially, partially or not comparable. 

Substantially comparable

  • Applicants have been assessed as suitable to undertake their intended scope of practice, taking full responsibility for individual patients with only oversight of their practice by a supervisor approved by the college. To be considered substantially comparable an applicant must have satisfied the college that they are at the standard of an Australian trained specialist commencing practice (at the level of a newly qualified Fellow), taking into consideration the applicant’s intended scope of practice as well as their previous training and assessment, recent specialist practice, experience and CPD.
  • Applicants assessed as substantially comparable will be required to undertake up to a maximum of 12 months full time equivalent (FTE) practice, with a minimum of three months, with a supervisor approved by the college. This period of supervised practice may include the satisfactory completion of a workplace-based assessment(s) (WBA).
  • If the college determines that a SIMG requires more than 12 months FTE supervised practice to demonstrate the required standard, then the SIMG cannot be assessed as substantially comparable and will be assessed as partially comparable or not comparable.

Partially comparable

  • Applicants have been assessed as suitable to undertake their intended scope of practice under the supervision of a college approved supervisor. To be considered partially comparable an applicant must satisfy the college that they will be able to reach the standard of an Australian trained specialist within a maximum period of 24 months FTE practice. The standard expected is that of an Australian trained specialist commencing practice (at the level of a newly qualified Fellow), taking into consideration the SIMG’s intended scope of practice as well as their previous training and assessment, recent specialist practice, experience and CPD. 
  • Applicants assessed as partially comparable will be required to undertake up to a maximum of 24 months FTE supervised practice, with a minimum of six months, and further training with any associated assessment/s with a supervisor approved by the college. They may be required to undertake formal examination/s or other assessment.
  • If a college determines a SIMG requires more than 24 months FTE of supervised practice and further training to reach the required standard, then the SIMG will be assessed as not comparable.

Not comparable

  • Applicants who do not satisfy the college that they are at the standard of an Australian trained specialist commencing practice (at the level of a newly qualified Fellow), having taken into consideration their intended scope of practice as well as their previous training and assessment, recent specialist practice, experience and CPD or who are assessed as unable to reach comparability within 24 months FTE practice will be assessed as not comparable.
  • Not comparable applicants will not be offered a placement on the Specialist

Pathway. The reasons will be provided. Information will be provided on other pathways to achieve Fellowship of ACRRM and referred to Ahpra for other options on medical registration pathways.

Eligibility Requirements: 

Training programs and their qualifications must meet the following criteria to be included on the ACRRM Codified list of comparable GP qualifications.

The qualification has the following features:

  • comparable definition to the Australian definition of a general practitioner
  • accredited as a General Practice/Family Physician training program/qualification by medical board, medical council or relevant authority leads to specialist medical registration in own country
  • recognised by other GP Colleges in other countries as a GP specialist qualification

The training program has the following features:

  • a published curriculum
  • two or more years of supervised placements
  • accredited training sites and supervisors
  • uses a range of teaching and learning approaches
  • uses a range of appropriate validated assessment methods and standard setting processes to set the pass mark

Pathway Requirements

The pathway requirements are set by the Interview Panel and documented in the Specialist Pathway Candidate Agreement.

All SIMGs are required to:

  • complete an orientation program provided or facilitated by their employer
  • enroll and participate in ACRRM’s Professional Development Program (PDP)
  • complete an Advanced Life Support course that meets PDP requirements, plus other activities as determined by the panel.

Once you have completed your period of supervised practice and allocated education and assessments, a Completion of Specialist Pathway Report is prepared by the College staff for approval and acceptance by you. 

Once the ACRRM Board awards Fellowship this is communicated to you via email. The College provides you and the AMC with a final report confirming specialist registration is recommended.

RACGP SPECIALIST PATHWAY

RACGP has the PEP Specialist Stream.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for the FSP (previously the PEP Specialist Stream) you must:

  • Hold and RACGP recognised specialist qualification in general practice
  • Complete a comparability assessment

What is a recognised specialist qualification?

Aside from the comparability assessment, this is when your curricula will be assessed under Substantially Comparable, Partially Comparable or Not Comparable as one of the eligibility requirements for the program. See the list below to know your curriculum classification.

Substantially Comparable

  • Canada – Certification in the College of Family Physicians 
  • Hong Kong – Fellow of Hong Kong College of Family Physicians
  • Ireland – Membership of the Irish College of General Practitioners
  • Malaysia – Membership of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia
  • Malta – Specialist in Family Medicine
  • New Zealand – Fellowship of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 
  • Spain – Specialist in Family and Community Medicine 
  • Sweden – Certificate of Specific Training for General Practice 
  • United Kingdom – Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Partially Comparable

  • Malaysia – Master in Family Medicine, National University of Malaysia
  • Netherlands – Certificate of Specific Training for General Practice 
  • Philippines – Diplomate of Family and Community Medicine
  • Saudi Arabia – Saudi Board in Family Medicine
  • Singapore – Master of Medicine in Family Medicine
  • South Africa – Fellowship of the College of Family Physicians of South Africa – FCFP(SA) 
  • Sri Lanka – MD Family Medicine (Family Medicine Specialist Board certification required)
  • United Kingdom – Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners International -South Asia
  • USA – Certification of the American Board of Family Medicine

Not Comparable

  • Belgium – Master of Family Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven
  • Belgium – Master of General Practice, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Brazil – Primary Care Specialist, Federal University of Parana
  • Egypt – Master Degree of Family Medicine
  • Germany – Certification of Further Education in the Area of General Practice
  • Ghana – Membership in Family Medicine (MGCP Family Medicine)
  • Iraq – Arab Board of Health Specializations in Family Medicine
  • India – Diplomate of National Board for the Practice of Family Medicine
  • India – Post graduate diploma in Family Medicine, Christian Medical College
  • Kenya – Masters of Family Medicine 
  • Latvia – General Practice Specialty Qualification
  • Nepal – Doctor of Medicine in General Practice and Emergency Medicine, B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Services 
  • Nigeria – Fellowship of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in Family Medicine 
  • Poland – Specialist General Practice Qualification
  • Poland – Specialization Program in Family Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College
  • Portugal – Specialist in General Practice and Family Medicine
  • Serbia – Doctor of Medicine (General Practice)
  • Sudan – Master of Family Medicine
  • Switzerland – Postgraduate Training Diploma – General Practitioner
  • Turkey – Family Medicine Specialist
  • USA – Board Certified Family Medicine, American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians

If your qualification isn’t on the list, this means that it hasn’t been reviewed yet and you will need to apply to RACGP to evaluate the curriculum before you can apply for the comparability assessment. You may view the details here or contact educationsupport@racgp.org.au

Please note that your curricula’s assessment does not indicate your comparability assessment result, for it is only one of the eligibility standards for PEP Specialist Stream. For example your curricula is substantially comparable, then it does not mean you are automatically substantially comparable.

What is a comparability assessment?

Comparability is the extent to which your recency, continuity of practice, continuing professional development, assessment, training, qualifications and clinical experience are evaluated as equivalent to an Australian trained specialist general practitioner at the point of attaining Fellowship. 

You must meet the following criteria:

  • Recency of practice – Completed at least 12 months FTE general practice experience in the last 48 months, and at least 4 weeks of FTE general practice experience in the year prior to applying for the assessment.
  • Continuity of practice – Explained any gaps in practice longer than 3 months
  • Continuing Professional Development – Have completed at least 50 hours of CPD in the last 12 months and a clinical audit or case note analysis of at least 10 patients within the last 48 months.
  • Assessment type – Completed summative assessment with theoretical and practical aspects. 
  • Training route – Evidence of specialist general practice qualification and training route completed. 
  • Curriculum – Completed your training with an organisation with a curriculum similar to that of the RACGP. 

Once your comparability has been assessed (this can take up to 10 weeks), you will be categorised as either:

  • Substantially comparable: you can handle the intended scope of practice, take full responsibility for all patients, and only have minimal supervision or peer review.
  • Partially comparable: you can manage a defined scope of practice with supervision and attain comparability within 24 months of FTE practice. You will also need to pass the Fellowship Exams to be granted Fellowship within 24- calendar years of the date of program commencement (Full time – 2 years, & Part time – 4 years).
  • Not comparable: you do not meet the comparability standards or you did not reach comparability within 24 months of FTE practice.

You are eligible for the PEP Specialist Stream if you are substantially comparable and partially comparable. If you are categorised as not comparable, then you can apply for Fellowship Support Program (FSP) instead to achieve the RACGP Fellowship assessment requirements. 

Program Entry Requirements

Once you have been assessed as substantially or partially comparable, your next step is to find a general practice position. In order to be eligible for the PEP Specialist Stream, this job must:

  • Be a general practice position
  • Located in a MMM 2-7 location (MMM1 if you are substantially comparable)

Please keep in mind that as an IMG, working in Australia for the first time, you will be restricted by 19AB and will have to find work in a DPA location.

You will also need to provide current Certificates of Good Standing for all jurisdictions of practice since you obtained your specialist general practice qualification. 

You can also then apply to the Medical Board of Australia for registration using your comparability outcome letter.

What will I do in the Program?

You will work as a General Practitioner under supervision and will undertake assessments to help you on your way to becoming a Fellowed doctor. Please also note that the learning modules and educational component will begin from their first day of work at the practice.

You will need to submit AHPRA supervisor reports every three months, and undertake a Workplace Based Assessment. The WBA can be commenced as soon as you start work but will need to be completed within 6 months. 

For the PEP Specialist program, the registrar’s supervisors do not get payments for offering supervision as compared to FSP. Supervision is also tied to the AHPRA Registration, so if you have finished the program and are in the process of applying for fellowship, you will still have the same Registration until it is converted to Specialist Registration. This would mean that the previous Supervision requirements would remain.

Fellowship

In addition to the above learning activities, doctors who were partially comparable will need to sit for the AKT, KFP and CCE (previously the OSCE) Fellowship exams within two years of working full time. Four years is the maximum amount of time a participant may remain on the program. 

Once you have passed these exams (for partially comparable doctors), or have completed the 6 months on the program (substantially comparable doctors) you are eligible to apply for Fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Note that the processing time for Fellowship usually takes around 5 weeks.

DO YOU NEED HELP? 

Our team offer General Practitioners assistance with finding jobs and a career pathway, and Medical Facilities to find a new Medical Practitioner. We also help with the full application process with AHPRA, RACGP, ACRRM, Department of Health, Medicare including 19AA & 19AB. If we can help, please contact us at help@peoplemedical.com.au

People Medical Consulting are a team of professionals with a passion for guiding those specialising in the Medical industry to find their career pathway and settle into Australia. Working with both Australian trained and Overseas trained professionals, we have extensive experience in Recruitment of General Practitioners and Document Assistance for those requiring support with RACGP, AHPRA, 19AA and 19AB Medicare Exemptions.

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