The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) opened its new Specialist Recognition Program (SRP) in September amid rumours of a more draconian process, new rates and prompting fears that UK GPs may no longer be so welcome in Australia. On closer examination, and following consultation with the RACGP, we are very happy to report that this new program differs very little from the old and, conversely, offers UK and Irish GPs greater opportunities to shine down under!
As in the past, GPs with MRCGP/MICGP get a relatively easy ride through this new application process. They will continue to be awarded Fellowship ad eundum gradum (FAEG) on the back of their UK specialist qualification, making them eligible for full specialist registration and enabling them to bill full Medicare rates on starting work.
The only real change is that there are two simple processes that occur after the GP has been working in Australia for a minimum of 6 months if they wish to maintain specialist registration and gain FRACGP:
On completion of these two processes (called the Workplace Based Assessment), the GP will be awarded full fellowship with the college (FRACGP).
These changes reflect a shift in focus by the Australians: from a concentration on addressing the shortage of GPs, the focus is now on the quality of primary care, to foster best practice, and improve education and support for UK GPs entering the workforce.
The visas changes took place earlier this year but the eligibility criteria remain the same for UK GPs. GPs are still on the skilled shortage list; however, the cost of the new visa is higher – for the sponsoring practice and the GP. it is still very easy for UK GPs and to get PR once they arrive in Australia and hold their specialist registration.
In a convoluted twist of high minded ideals and grubby politics, this tougher stance taken by the authorities may actually make it more promising for the UK GP. While on the one hand appeasing an electorate keen to wean itself from reliance on foreigners, the Australian government will also be positively rubbing its hands with glee at the increased revenues from this stream of much needed GPs coming through immigration. We believe UK GPs will be welcome in Australia for a long time to come!
For more detailed information about these changes and how it will affect you in your quest to work as a GP in Australia, please call Raelene on 07808 704050 or email@example.com
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