Skip to main content

The RACGP is being pressured to amend its assessment processes to match that of other Colleges even though the current system is more transparent and more objective than the new systems being proposed.

In a recent response to a review by Deloitte/ Access Economics, Alecto Australia commended the RACGP for its current methods of assessing Specialist qualifications gained overseas and questioned the move to bring the RACGP processes in line with other Specialist Colleges.  Here are some excerpts from our submission:

In our experience, the RACGP has been very consistent and transparent in its assessment processes…. Applicants are assessed based on their experience and qualifications and there is no room for favoritism or discrimination. The assessment process is applied consistently and fairly.  We have no examples of cases where GPs on the Specialist Pathway have received unfair treatment. Our experience of the assessment policies has been overwhelmingly positive.

The significant differences in the quality of GPs practising in Australia is not due to the way that IMGs are assessed by the RACGP… The differences stem from the training pathways and the opportunity that GPs have had to receive good mentoring, teaching and supervision.  We, therefore, believe that the change being proposed by the RACGP will not achieve better quality differentiation because the assessment of Specialist IMGs does not appear to be the source of quality variations.

It is therefore difficult to understand why the RACGP is being forced to adopt processes that are more similar to other Specialists Colleges for the sake of consistency and introduce a more subjective assessment process. There is no evidence that the current process is inferior or causing any quality assessment issues. Surely the deciding factor should be whether their processes achieve the desired results – rather than whether they are consistent with other Specialist Colleges who may have flawed processes.

We don’t believe that it is important that there is consistency between the way that the RACGP and other Colleges assess IMGs.  It is far more important that all assessments ensure that there are mechanisms in place to ensure that only high-quality doctors can practice in Australia. The RACGP should be required to do this and monitored to ensure that there is no discrimination. But the RACGP and the General Practice context is completely different to hospital based specialties and we don’t believe that seeking uniformity should be the holy grail for regulation.

Megan Lewis, our in-house GP registration expert was selected and invited to participate in the review.  The review was commissioned by AHPRA on behalf of the Medical Board of Australia to review and report on the performance of the specialist medical colleges in relation to their assessment of IMGs.