The Specialist PEP stream was introduced in September 2019 and only a handful of GPs have completed the process from beginning to end. These changes were introduced prior to any notion of a pandemic and were ostensibly designed as a ‘’workforce distribution tool” designed to direct doctors to rural and regional areas.
Based on early experiences of the system, the following provider number pathway appears to apply to applicants to the program following their arrival in Australia:
Week 1 – 3
Arrive in Australia and complete two-weeks of quarantine
Complete their AHPRA identity check to gain full registration and notify the RACGP once this comes through
Week 5 to 9
After waiting another 4-6 weeks, they receive a letter confirming they are substantially comparable, and their job is approved – details which were already confirmed in the first two parts of the PEP pathway.
Upon receiving this letter, the GP then needs to pay an invoice (which is not always received straight away) and provide a provider number application form to one of the multitudes of email addresses
The RACGP will send a letter to the GP, confirming they have submitted the application for a provider number and the start date will be one month away
By the time, the GP has been in Australia for over 3 months, not working or being able to support their family, they should finally receive their provider number and finally commence working
Given a provider number could be obtained instantly through PRODA or within a few weeks manually in normal circumstances, the above process is ridiculous and aimed to dissuade GPs from coming to Australia.
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