Confusion reigns with yet another policy change for overseas trained doctors.
As of the 16th October, the Department of Health and Aged Care advised that for those applying for a 19AB spousal exemption for the purposes of the AGPT program need to direct their applications to the RACGP.
There has been no announcement or warning before this change, no indication that this was happening even when we were submitting other applications in the weeks prior. The department advised that, ‘The Department’s website should be updated shortly to reflect the recent changes.’
Alecto contacted the RACGP to confirm the changes and the new process for these doctors however the team we spoke to had no idea that this change was going to occur. We were asked to provide a copy of what the department sent us to confirm the change as the RACGP team members were not able to find out information from the department’s website. After some investigation, the RACGP has given the following response:
“ The process for 19AB exemptions is currently still being decided upon due to the recent changes from the Department of Health and Aged Care. I have taken down your details and will provide you with further information once we know more.”
Megan Lewis, Alecto’s registration expert, pointed to the lack of information about this policy change;
“ There are promises to make pathways easier, to get more doctors working to provide services to patients. Politicians can spin it however they want, but in reality, these organisations are unorganised and cause more problems than they solve.”
So what does this mean for doctors considering AGPT?
Many are fearful and anxious about applying in the first place, with many confused by the rules surrounding spousal exemptions and many fearful of paperwork.
However, we do believe that the college will be wanting to grant these exemptions to encourage more registrars into the program and eventually the process will be confirmed, it may just be that processing times will be longer.
Hopefully the new process is confirmed in coming weeks, we will provide an update once we know more.