It is common to be unsure about the different GP pathways, their requirements and application processes, and it is highly likely that others have had the same questions as you.
That’s why we’ve developed a number of FAQs, such as entry requirements and pathways for IMGs, based on our enquiries which are answered by FGP Advisors around the country.
A: The transition to College-led training in 2023 means that the two GP colleges – RACGP and ACRRM – will administer the AGPT program. There are three other pathways to become a GP in Australia after you complete your postgraduate hospital training.
These programs include:
- AGPT (Australian General Practice Training): Commonwealth funded via both RACGP and ACRRM.
- IP (Independent Pathway): ACRRM’s self-funded program
- RVTS (Remote Vocational Training Scheme): Commonwealth funded but independent in remote areas through both RACGP and ACRRM
- Rural Generalist Pathway:
Application requirements of the AGPT program include:
- CAAKT (Candidate Application Knowledge Test): An online MCQ test made up of 70 questions split between 20 Knowledge Test (KT) questions, and 50 Situational Judgement Test (SJT) questions.
- MMI’s (Multiple Mini Interviews): For 5 cases, applicants have 2 minutes to read the question before entering the interview room, then 8 minutes to answer the question.
- Mandatory rotations – this includes general medicine, general surgery, emergency and paediatrics. Additional mandatory rotations are required for ACRRM registrars.
RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning): RPL can reduce a registrar’s overall time in the AGPT program through acknowledgement of previous training that applicants have already undertaken. Check your RPL requirements and discuss this with your Medical Educator.
Depending on your personal circumstances, pick the program that suits you the most to help with your training and gaining of your GP Fellowship.
A: Generally, you need to have completed:
- General medicine (10 weeks)
- General surgery (10 weeks)
- Emergency medicine (minimum of 8 weeks)
- Paediatric experience (Generally 10 weeks but this can be met by doing a term in a mixed adult/paediatric ED)
Experience in these rotations as an intern (PGY1) does not count.
You need to have completed internship to gain your general registration before commencing the AGPT program. If you start AGPT training immediately after internship, you need to spend 12 months in the hospital completing the mandatory rotations above. If you apply for AGPT training ≥ 1 years after internship, you can apply for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) to acknowledge any relevant past experiences to potentially reduce your training time.
From a Recognition of Prior Learning perspective, you can use some of your previous experience to fulfil the extended skills portion of your training but this needs to be at least six months in one subspecialty. This doesn’t have to be completed prior to starting your first GP term, unlike the ones above.
Start to pull together all of your evidence – a copy of full academic transcripts, original copies of your degree, and medical registration. For the extended skills component, this may include term reports, so get a reference from one of your term supervisors (seek clarification from your RTO if you are not sure). You will also need a couple of referees.
You can be on the training program prior to starting GP terms (i.e. whilst still working in the hospital) in order to finalise your minimal hospital requirements.
It is recommended that you cover everything you want to learn in the hospital system before moving into general practice because it is very challenging to re-enter the hospital system once you have left.
AGPT Program Eligibility Guide:
Q: Will the proposed AMC prevocational training framework changes affect or delay entry into GP training?
A: It is hard to say what requirements for applications will be like in the future. Things can change each year. The transition to college-led training in 2023 RACGP may result in changes to application and training – this event is more likely to impact on GP training applications than the AMC framework changes.
Currently, the framework for prevocational training includes PGY2. However, the point of general registration will remain at the end of postgraduate year 1.
Assessments would be included for both PGY1 & PGY2, instead of the current arrangement of PGY1 only. This would likely result in changing hospital assessments while you work, but this shouldn’t impact GP training applications as general registration hasn’t changed.
For application to general practice, you need to have general registration (i.e. complete PGY1), and you need to have completed mandatory hospital rotations in PGY2 (a minimum of two years in hospital training before entering community general practice). This will not impact on application to GP training (provided you can meet the AMC requirements).
A: If you are an IMG, you are automatically allocated to the rural pathway, and remain under the moratorium rule 19AB for 10 years from the day of your first provisional registration with AHPRA.
However, after completing your training, you have a multitude of options to choose from. This could be continuing to work rurally under the current Distribution Priority Areas (DPAs), in a metropolitan afterhours cover, or in an Aboriginal Medical Centre.
A: To summarise, the best time to apply to general practice depends on your individual situation – your clinical ability and experiences, career goals, and when you feel that you are ready to start training.
As a minimum, you are required to complete two full years in hospitals before working in community GP clinics. The first year is your internship (PGY1) – you are required to complete this to obtain your general registration before starting general practice training. The second year in hospital is the “hospital year” of the general practice training program where you will complete mandatory rotations for general practice. These rotations will depend on which college you are applying to (RACGP or ACRRM). More details can be found here.
There is no right or wrong time to start general practice training after internship. If you are certain that you want to do general practice training and feel ready in your ability, then you should apply. If you feel that you would like to stay in the hospital system for a longer period to develop particular skills, then you can delay your application for GP training until you feel that you are ready. It is most beneficial if you spend this time completing rotations that are relevant to general practice work. Some doctors know that they want to work as a GP with a special interest such as skin cancer medicine or women’s health. These doctors may choose to spend extra time in the hospital upskilling in these areas before moving to general practice, however this is not essential.
Some doctors are not sure about general practice initially and choose to spend more time doing hospital rotations to explore their interests before applying. Doctors are constantly upskilling no matter what field they are working in, and all of these skills are all transferrable to general practice. For example, if you worked as a plastics registrar, the surgical skills obtained would be useful for procedural work in general practice. Therefore, there is no time wasted through delaying entry to training.
There is no limit to the time that you can spend in the hospitals before applying for general practice. If you have completed the mandatory rotations over this time, you can retrospectively use these rotations to count for your “hospital year” of general practice training through a RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). However, the mandatory rotations need to have been completed in recent years, usually within 5 years to count. If you completed your ED training 10 years prior to applying to general practice, you would have to complete an ED rotation again so that your experience is recent enough.
Once you are on the training program, you will receive educational training from the college and your clinic supervisors, which will prepare you well for exams and fellowship – there is a lot of ‘learning on the job’ as there is with all specialties. Therefore, you do not need to prolong your time spent in hospital until you are an ‘expert’ in every field of medicine before heading into general practice. Many doctors do start general practice training after internship.