Frequently Asked Questions

Browse the below frequently asked questions to find the answers to your questions about General Practice training in northern and regional Queensland.

Once I am accepted onto the training program, am I required to commence training in general practice?

No. In fact, the normal expectation is to commence training in the hospital setting, as the AGPT program includes a hospital training year and both colleges require minimum hospital-based experience.

In certain circumstances, registrars may be eligible to apply for an exemption from the hospital year of the program. This is called recognition of prior learning (RPL) – ACRRM and recognition of prior learning and experience (RPLE) – RACGP.  Registrars who meet their college’s mandatory hospital term and RPL/RPLE requirements may request to commence active training in a general practice setting.

Once accepted onto the training program registrars will be required to attend an Induction Training Advisor Meeting by Zoom with a Medical Educator or Training Officer to assess eligibility for commencement in a general practice placement. Registrars are required to provide evidence of all Australian / New Zealand hospital work from Internship prior to attending their Induction TA meeting (e.g. statements of service and end of term assessments).

Can I defer my AGPT Training?

Generally, deferring commencement on the AGPT program is not permitted and applications will only be considered in extenuating and unforeseen circumstances, consistent with legislated requirements (medical, parental or carer's leave), or to meet Australian Defence Force service requirements. All deferral requests must be submitted to in writing with supporting evidence well before the commencement of the AGPT program training year. Deferral approval is not guaranteed.

Registrars joining the program on hospital contracts that conclude a couple of weeks after the start of the term, will need to notify their training team well in advance of the semester start date.

How will I be remunerated while on the AGPT Program?

Registrars will be employed directly through their allocated training post. Registrars employed in a private general practice will be remunerated in accordance with the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER) developed by the General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), the General Practice Supervisors’ Association (GPSA), and the Australian Medical Association (AMA). For more information, review the NTCER on the GPRA website.

When can I select my fellowship pathway on the AGPT program?

All applicants apply to the AGPT program directly through the website of their preferred college: RACGP, ACRRM, or both.

When do I need to become a financial member of my chosen college? When accepting a position to train on the AGPT program, registrars must become financial members (GP registrar membership) with their college prior to commencing their first day of training on the AGPT program regardless of whether commencing in a hospital or community GP placement. Financial membership must be renewed each year and kept current for the duration of training on the AGPT program.

What if I forget to become a financial member of my college? Both colleges have advised that only training undertaken as a financial member will be recognised towards fellowship. It is therefore essential that registrars become financial members of their college/s prior to the commencement of training on the AGPT program, or risk having their time forfeited.

Can I change fellowship pathways after I have commenced training on the AGPT program?

Yes. Registrars may apply to transfer their training from one college to another, or from one college’s fellowship pathways to another. Applications are not guaranteed to be approved.  Registrars should consult the Training Transfers Policy (RACGP / ACRRM) of their current college and speak to their allocated Medical Educator in the first instance.

Where can I find out more information on AGPT’s fellowship pathways? For further information on fellowship pathways, please visit the RACGP and ACRRM websites.

Can I take leave from the training program?

Yes, there are provisions in place for two types of leave:

1.         Legislated leave - annual, sick, parental and carer’s leave as per a training post employment agreement in accordance with the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER).

2.         Program leave – unpaid leave from the AGPT training program.  Training on the program stops and recommences upon return from leave.

Registrar leave is recorded as follows:

*           Category 1 leave is legislated and includes annual, sick, parental and carer’s leave. All types of category 1 leave require valid certificates and approval.  Any unpaid annual, sick, parental and carer’s leave taken from a placement must be reported to your allocated training team and will not count towards training time.

*           Category 2 leave is program leave for personal reasons and is capped at a maximum of 26 weeks. Registrars must discuss their leave plans with their Medical Educator and then apply in advance of the leave term they are requesting. The relevant Region Manager must approve all Category 2 leave prior to the leave period start date.

*           Category 3 leave applies to registrars who are full-time members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Leave can be taken under this category to meet ADF service requirements.

*           Category 4 leave is program leave for deferral of commencement on the AGPT program.  Applications are considered under unforeseen and extenuating circumstances, with the provision of appropriate supporting evidence.  Category 4 leave is also used for registrars who commence in their GP placement a couple of weeks late due to an existing hospital employment contact.

Do I Need a Medicare Provider Number?

To work as a doctor in Australia, registrars may need to have a Medicare Provider Number. This number allows patients to claim Medicare rebates for the services registrars provide. A Medicare provider number may allow a registrar to raise referrals for specialist services and make requests for pathology or diagnostic imaging services.

A provider number may also be used to attract Medicare rebates for professional services rendered (i.e. treat private patients) if the registrar satisfies the legislative requirements. A Medicare provider number does not automatically allow a registrar to attract Medicare rebates for services. Registrars should ask their employer which level of Medicare access for a provider number is needed. A Medicare provider number uniquely identifies both the registrar and the place of work. For more details visit DoctorConnect - Department of Health.

Can I commence working without a Medicare Provider Number?

Registrars should first check with their allocated training post whether an AGPT Medicare provider number is required. If so, registrars must ensure that a provider number has been issued prior to undertaking consultations. Failure to do so may result in the following implications:

*           Patients not receiving reimbursement from Medicare

*           Registrars may be committing an offence by providing services for Medicare Benefits if they are not recognised as a General Practitioner and have not advised their patients (applicable to all doctors first registered after 1 January 1996)

*           Registrars should not commence seeing patients whose consultations are to be billed to Medicare Australia unless they have received written confirmation from Medicare Australia that they have an approved provider number that has access to the GP Items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule

How do I apply for a Medicare Provider Number (MPN)?

Once you have accepted a placement offer from a training practice, you will receive a pre-populated Medicare Provider Number (MPN) form to sign and return to with additional supporting documentation (if required).  MPNs can take more than six (6) weeks to be processed, so it is important to return the completed Medicare Provider Number form with any required supporting documentation to the relevant training team promptly to avoid delays.

Do I need to complete a provider number application for every location I am placed at?

Yes. Medicare Provider Numbers are location specific. Every location worked will require a new provider number.

How will I know when my provider number has been processed?

Registrars will receive written correspondence directly from Medicare (in the mail) advising of their new Medicare provider number(s). Please read the letter carefully as there may be a request to provide additional information/documentation before the number is accessible. Registrars who wish to check the progress of their applications, should contact Medicare directly on 1300 302 122. Please note that Medicare does not inform your allocated training team or the colleges as to the progress of provider numbers.

Can I submit my forms directly to Medicare?

No. All enrolled AGPT registrars require endorsement from their enrolled college. Please follow directions provided wih your pre-populated Medicare Provider Number application form/s.

Where do I submit my applications for a Medicare provider number?

Applications should be submitted to their enrolled college:

ACRRM - return your MPN to your Training Officer at ACRRM.

RACGP - MPN applications are managed through the RACGP Training Management System (TMS) – please follow instructions provided by the RACGP.

What is the ten-year moratorium and how do I know if I am on the 10-year moratorium?

Section 19AB (3) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 prescribes a 10-year moratorium for some doctors seeking to practice in Australia. This is an Australian Government policy which restricts access to Medicare benefits and requires OTDs and FGAMS to work in a district of workforce shortage for 10 years in order to access Medicare arrangements. Section 19AB (3) applies for a period of 10 years (and may be scaled depending on remoteness) starting from the date a doctor first gains medical registration in Australia, which includes provisional or limited registration.

The Department of Health and Ageing can assist registrars in regards to issues relating to the 10-year Moratorium. This information is available in the Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 Fact sheet. For more information visit the Doctor Connect website.

What is the difference between an International Medical Graduate (IMG) and an Overseas Trained Doctor?

An IMG has studied and graduated from medicine in a country other than Australia. Once this has been verified, an IMG can then go through one of three assessment pathways in Australia to determine whether they can become a registered doctor in their respective field. Once this is complete, they will become an ‘overseas trained doctor’.

Can I train part-time?

AGPT registrars are expected to undertake their training on a full-time equivalent basis (38 hours per week), however in special circumstances where a registrar is unable to meet the full-time requirement, they may apply to train part-time.

RACGP defines part-time training as at least 14.5 hours over a minimum of two days per week, of which at least 10.5 hours is face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time, undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than 4 calendar weeks in any one practice will not be considered.  See the AGPT Registrar Training Handbook  for more details.

ACRRM defines part-time training as ‘no less than 16 hours per week over 12 months and must include comparable proportionate exposure and experience to full time training, including clinical, education and administrative activities and be approved prospectively by the employer. See ACRRM’s Part-time Policy for more details.

For more information on part-time training, please contact your local training team.

How do I apply for part-time training?

Registrars interested in training part-time must contact their local office or medical educator to discuss their circumstances. A part-time training application form must be completed and signed by their local medical educator and then submitted to the local training team for processing.

The local team will advise the registrar of the outcome of the application and how this will impact their overall training time on the AGPT program. If approved, the local office will contact the registrar close to the end of the approved part-time term to set up a training advisor meeting to review their personal circumstances and training requirements.

Am I able to return to full-time training after working part-time?

Yes. Registrars can return to full-time training status from part-time status at any time, providing that the training post can accommodate these changes. Registrars must first contact their local office to discuss their return to full-time training.

What are the minimum 'in-practice' teaching requirements for registrars and supervisors?

The ‘in practice’ teaching requirements are set by AGPT and the colleges and do not vary between training regions. The requirements for registrars’ individual face-to-face protected 'in-practice' teaching time per week are as follows:

*           GPT/PRRT 1 (1.0 FTE) – 3 hours per week

*           GPT/PRRT 2 (1.0 FTE) – 1.5 hours per week or 1 hour per fortnight

*           GPT/PRRT3 (1.0 FTE) – 30 minutes per week

After accepting a training position in northern and regional Queensland, can I transfer to another training region such as Victoria?

In general, registrars are expected to remain with their allocated training region for the duration of their training. ACRRM and RACGP manage training transfers differently and applications are not guaranteed to be approved.

All transfer training enquiries must be made to the local training office, the registrar’s allocated Medical Educator.

If I want to temporarily work in a different region, am I able to temporarily transfer to another training region such as Victoria?

A temporary transfer may be considered where the registrar’s training needs cannot be met within the northern and regional Queensland region. Registrars may be directed to take Category 2 leave (leave from the program) in order to train for 6/12 in another region. Please contact the your local training team or allocated Medical Educator for more information.

Can I transfer from the RACGP rural pathway to the general pathway, or vice versa?

Registrars training on the RACGP General Pathway can train in any location and do not require a pathway transfer to train in an MMM2-7 location.  Pathway transfers from the Rural to the General Pathway are considered by the RACGP under extenuating and unforeseen circumstances or when a suitable training position is not available in the northern and regional Queensland region. Information on transferring between pathways is available in the RACGP Training Transfers Policy.

Can I work for after-hours providers?

After-hours care is part of good general practice experience if it is part of a teaching placement and supervised as for any other clinical work. AGPT provider numbers are only available for use within an accredited training post, and all clinical work whether in or after hours, must be under the supervision of an accredited supervisor.

After-hours work will only be approved if the after-hours work is part of a scheduled roster within the training post and the registrar is being supervised by their usual supervisory team.

Frequently Asked Questions about Placements

If you are following the RACGP pathway, you are required to experience a diversity of practice for your General Practice Training (GPT) terms by training in at least two different practices throughout your GP terms. The purpose of the requirement is to ensure registrars experience different practice systems, management styles, supervisor styles and are exposed to diverse patient demographics. Refer to the RACGP Vocational Training Requirements for more information. Registrars following the ACRRM pathway are able to work in certain accredited training posts for all of their Core Generalist Training (CGT) terms.

No, all AGPT registrars (including Queensland Health Rural Generalist Trainees and scholarship holders) must complete at least six months full-time equivalent in community general practice (may include Aboriginal Medical Services) during the first 12 months of general practice terms.

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