PEP Specialist Stream

IMPORTANT UPDATE: From 22 November 2023 an exemption will apply to the following Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for Comparability Assessments:

  • Any 50 hours of CPD in the 12 months prior to applying for your comparability assessment will be eligible to be assessed – the requirements for demonstrating breadth and a limit on the maximum hours per day will be removed. (clause 3.3.4.a.a – 3.3.4.a.b). 
  • Ten Clinical Case Analyses will no longer be required to be submitted or assessed (clause 3.3.4.c)

*This will apply to all pending and new applications. Please click here for more information.


What is the PEP Specialist Stream?

The PEP Specialist Stream was created to provide educational support for Specialist International Medical Graduates with specialist qualifications, working towards FRACGP. It is a 6 month program that commences from the first day of work. This Specialist Pathway also applies to overseas-trained specialist GPs who seek comparability assessment with the standard of an Australian-trained specialist GP.

By joining the PEP Program you will receive Australian Government co-funded program support, be able to bill for services under the highest value MBS item using a PEP provider number, have access to a suite of educational resources and work under supervision whilst progressing towards Fellowship.

What is the Process?

There are mainly 3 parts to apply for the PEP Specialist Stream Program.

Part A: Comparability Assessment application (10 weeks assessment)

  • There are 3 comparability outcomes for this evaluation: substantially, partially or not comparable. If you are assessed as not comparable, then you can register for Fellowship Support Program (FSP) instead.

Part B: Job Offer Approval application (3 weeks assessment)

  • Your job offer(s) details in Australia (including scope of practice and location) is checked by RACGP to gain a RACGP Provider Number.
    • Your job must meet the minimum part-time requirement of 14.5 hours over 2 days
    • Your job must be in comprehensive general practice in an approved practice location
    • Please note that DPA replacements are not accepted under PEP Specialist. All participants are expected to meet their 19AB requirements, this means Substantially Comparable doctors can work MM1-7 DPA and Partially Comparable doctors must work MM2-7 (automatic DPA). This note has been confirmed by RACGP in writing.
  • You can apply for AHPRA Medical Registration when the approval for the job offer is given.
  • You will also be required to submit of a letter of offer (or contract) from the practice
    • We have questioned RACGP and they’ve advised in writing that there is no RACGP template as practices may have their own agreement templates, but what’s important is that the details of the letter of offer (or contract) match the details of the application. These details must also include the following:
      • Doctor’s name
        • Practice address
        • Proposed weekly hours
        • Proposed start date (we understand that this may change depending on registration/visas)
        • Duties
        • Signed by representative of the practice
    • A letter of support from the practice can also be requested and completed via the online application system https://applications.racgp.org.au/prog/pep_specialist/
    • IMPORTANT: Please note that practice is not a required to be accredited for PEP Specialist pathways, but they do require that practices must be open and actively seeing patients at that specific location as they require an exact street address to be stated.

Part C: Right to Work application (12 weeks process)

  • You must give:
    • Your visa details with proof of visa type
    • Australian medical registration or a completed form to request an RACGP provider number
  • For the process, RACGP first cross checks the right to work through VISA confirmation, that Medical Registration has been signed off by AHPRA and they now appear on the registry. Afterwards, they send a confirmation letter that triggers the agreement, first term invoice and membership payment. It also sends out the RACGP Provider Number application for completion, the application then comes back to this email address for processing. Please note RACGP will not process if all other requirements in the original agreement email have not been completed. Once the Provider Number application goes through to Medicare, the registrar is notified via email.

You can join the program and begin working once you have completed all three parts of the application and you have a Medicare Provider Number.

Applicants must accomplish all entry and Fellowship requirements before being awarded Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for the PEP Specialist Stream you must:

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

Note: We have confirmed with RACGP in writing that if you are eligible for/currently Generally Registered you can be on this program!

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 

Please note that supervision Level 3 is suggested by RACGP for PEP Specialist Stream participants unless they have failed to meet recency requirements (Level 2), based on the Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Supervision Policy.

Read more about the supervision levels in the Guidelines – Supervised Practice of International medical graduates.

The supervisor is only required to have full and unrestricted AHPRA registration as a specialist GP. RACGP has removed their previous requirement of attaining a Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), so ACRRM supervisors may now supervise a registrar in the PEP Specialist Stream.

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

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 if my curriculum is not listed?

If your curriculum is not listed as either Substantially, Partially or Not Comparable, 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. 

What is the process for having my curricula assessed?

Step #1: Prepare your documents.

To have your curriculum assessed, you must provide the following:

  • An official copy of your specialist general practice college/training organisation/Medical Board training curriculum
  • An official letter from your Training Organisation confirming:
    • this is their curriculum;
    • curriculum year;
    • the specialist general practice qualification it leads to; and
    • the year you obtained this qualification.
  • An official document from the college, training organisation or Medical Board that outlines their good medical practice guidelines and ethics (This is to support your curriculum comparison application).

If any of these documents are not in English, you must provide a copy of the original and an official English translation.

Step #2: Complete the interactive application form.

Step #3: Print and sign the form.

Step #4: Return all documents to the RACGP scanned by email to educationsupport@racgp.org.au

Curriculum assessments take up to 10 weeks to assess. Assessors will review your specialist colleges’ curriculum against the RACGP curriculum.

Please note that there is no fee for the curriculum comparison. If it is found to be an “eligible” curriculum, the doctor can complete a comparability assessment application ($575) for entry to the PEP Specialist Stream.

Curriculum assessments takes time but it all depends on whether or not the doctor is happy to wait for an outcome that may or may not go in their favour. Most specialist GPs would prefer to have the curriculum assessed so that their overseas qualifications are recognised.

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.
  • 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.

Program fees and charges

PEP Specialist StreamSubstantially comparablePartially comparable
Comparability application$575$575
PEP Specialist program fee, covering:
– Medical Educator meetings and support;
– Workplace-based assessment;
– Multisource Feedback tool;
– Access to the PEP portal and learning units;
– Provider number authorisation and administration;
– General program administration
$8000$8000
RACGP Membership fee (IMG/GP in Training) 1 July 2023 – 24$573*$573*
Exams (AKT, KFP, CCE)N/A$9870*

AKT: $2440
KFP: $2440
CCE: $4,990
Total$9148$19,018*
*Fees are subject to change without notice. Individual circumstances may affect applicable membership fees.

Taking everything into account, keep in mind the processing duration. The fellowship certificate from RACGP takes up to 5 weeks, and AHPRA Specialist application is expected to take around 2 months.


Note: The information presented above has been gathered from RACGP email enquiries and website, and has been updated as of 2023-08-08.

We Can Help You

Our team offers 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.

Information from this blog has been taken directly from:

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