We have recently seen headlines and promises from the RACGP acknowledging the dire shortage of General Practitioners in Australia and vowing to make the process easier for Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) to work in Australia.
In a recent article published in News GP on the RACGP website, the RACGP’s president advised that they have been advocating to make it easier and more attractive for OTDs to come to Australia and are looking forward to the outcomes from the anticipated Kruk report.
However this is the same line that we have heard for years. We work with OTDs everyday who hold specialist qualifications, who are seen as substantially comparable, yet the RACGP is the most difficult part of the registration process for them. After so many years of the RACGP promising to simplify the process in order to make it simpler/faster for overseas GPs to come and work in Australia and even discussing what the issues are with their system with industry groups, nothing has changed.
The current processing times for those under the PEP specialist stream is ridiculously long! The RACGP comparability assessments (one of the three long steps of the PEP Specialist Stream process and based on our own GP case examples) are currently exceeding the usual 12 week waiting period for GPs and are taking around 15 weeks for these doctors to receive an outcome for Part A. Once they get this outcome, they then need to apply to AHPRA for registration which involves presenting in-person in Australia before going back to the RACGP to apply to Medicare for their provider number.
RACGP can take up to 12 weeks to apply for and get the provider number for these doctors (Part C of the process). This is something that could take us 4 weeks. It is such a long process that we often recommend that the doctors come out here on an expensive visit and go back and wait overseas so that they can work. The alternative is that they sit in Australia unemployed for weeks on end, something that happened to a lot of doctors during COVID times, when it was not easy to just enter and exit the country.
Processing times are now longer than they have been over the past two years and application methods are extremely time consuming and arduous for GPs to complete. For Part A (12-15 weeks), Part B (4 weeks) and Part C (12 weeks), we are looking at nearly 30 weeks of processing time by the RACGP when all paperwork is provided to be checked by the organisation. We wonder whether following the Kruk report, the industry will change or whether there will continue to be empty promises made to the media.
We are keen to work with the RACGP and relevant bodies to improve the process and help make this an easier road to solving Australia’s GP shortage crisis.
At Alecto, we keep up to date with all the current industry changes so keep an eye on the Alecto Blog page or social media accounts for any updates or email email@example.com with any questions.