Australia's lengthy and demanding medical school system is not for the faint of heart. Applicants must complete Year 12 and get a Bachelor's Degree, which typically takes 4 years, in order to pursue a career in healthcare. After that, it takes around 10 years of education—including a four-year postgraduate medical degree and a one-year internship—to become fully registered.
Young doctors are faced with an additional difficult decision after getting their degrees: what, if anything, to specialise in? Many new practitioners will decide to undertake a fellowship at this stage or further their education in a particular medical speciality. A practitioner may typically enrol in speciality training or a fellowship after earning a basic medical degree, finishing an internship, and accomplishing one or two years of residency.
In Australia, there are several academic institutions that reflect each specialisation. These organisations could follow distinct training standards and have their own conventions. There are two main fellowship choices for GPs in Australia who want to specialise in General Practice and continue a long-term career. These alternatives assist in explaining the ubiquitous acronyms we find behind their titles, such as FRACGP and FACRRM, but what are they precisely?
These abbreviations, which are earned via the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), represent two different specialisations in general practice.
Here, we'll explain what FRACGP means and more. Along with that, we'll go through what it comprises and how it might position you for a fantastic general practitioner career in Australia.
What is FRACGP?
The Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is abbreviated as FRACGP. The Australian Medical Council has granted its speciality general practice accreditation. A general practitioner who has earned the FRACGP credential has been found to be qualified to practise independently and has completed the highest level of training. The certification also enables doctors to use the initials FRACGP after their names, claim some types of Medicare rebates, and receive reciprocal recognition as Fellows in Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland.
A general practitioner who earns the FRACGP credential has been evaluated and declared competent to practise their speciality (general medicine) without supervision. It also implies that they have completed the most advanced degree of instruction.
The FRACGP not only demonstrates a doctor's level of expertise but also has other advantages. It allows GPs to apply for certain Medicare reimbursements, for instance. Additionally, it enables medical professionals who have completed it to be properly recognised as fellows not just in Australia but also in New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada by using the initials FRACGP after their names.
A general practitioner who holds the FRACGP or FACRRM accreditation is skilled in all essential general practice skills, enabling them to practise without supervision everywhere in Australia as well as in other nations like New Zealand and Canada.
General practitioners cannot bill Medicare for reimbursements that are ordinarily accessible to speciality GPs because they lack the FRACGP or FRACRRM credentials. This suggests that patients of non-vocationally recognised general practitioners may obtain a smaller consultation reimbursement but may also spend more out of pocket when compared to seeing a GP who is FRACCP or FACRRM accredited. Patients who see GPs who have received vocational recognition may also receive larger consultation refunds.
RACGP and FRACGP
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is the governing organisation for general practitioners in Australia (RACGP). It is the body in charge of creating and upholding guidelines for general practice education, training, clinical practice quality, and research. Additionally, it offers GPs support on issues that affect the practise of general medicine.
The RACGP is famous for having more graduates than any other medical school in the country. Membership in the RACGP is necessary for all GPs who wish to be awarded a fellowship because it is the organisation that represents general practitioners.
By completing the FRACGP test, doctors can become eligible to apply for a fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. "Registrars" are doctors who are pursuing their FRACGP.
Registrars are constantly supervised by a GP supervisor while going through the training programme. At a minimum, the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) would recognise the designated lead supervisor as a specialist GP.
Exam and Qualifications
Registrars must pass a three-part written and clinical test to be eligible for the Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Additionally, they have to have complied with all requirements for the training course. Recognizing Prior Learning (RPL) may be used to reduce the time needed to complete the FRACGP by up to one year. An RPL simply means that the student is excused from the first year of the programme. Registrars must apply for this at an early stage in order to be eligible for it.
For general practitioners who are proactively engaged in their area, there are a variety of methods available to get the FRACGP certificate, including the vocational training track, the speciality route, and the practice-based evaluation route.
There are three sections to the FRACGP exam:
? Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)
? Key Feature Problems (KFP)
? Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE)
Both the AKT and KFP are given in an online test format at RACGP-approved locations. 150 multiple-choice problems make up the AKT. Case study examples with in-depth replies are part of the KFP. The OSCE is a performance-based test, in contrast. While attempting to respond to several medical situations that are given to them, candidates taking the OSCE are watched and assessed.
Applicants who took the FRACGP exam will receive their exam results by mail on the specified results date of release. To view their marks, applicants can also visit the RACGP website on or after the planned results release day.
The RACGP website also features lists of test applicants who passed. The next stage is to seek admission to the Fellowship of RACGP for applicants who pass all test parts.
Starting Your General Practice Career
Your career as a general practitioner may be significantly impacted by holding the designation of FRACGP since it denotes your degree of skill and GP specialisation.
You can practise medicine on your own as a doctor if you have a FRACGP. Additionally, a FRACGP qualifies you for many excellent opportunities.
Fellowed GPs are free to choose whether to work as a permanent or locum GP. Locum work is becoming more common in Australia, especially amongst fresh graduates seeking career options outside of working in a hospital. The freedom to travel, better flexibility, improved income potential, and ultimately professional happiness are just a few of the primary advantages of choosing a locum career path, which also comes with more options. Interested in pursuing a locum career? Read our blog on How to become a locum doctor in Australia.
For freshly qualified GP registrars who have taken the RACGP-FRACGP examinations and are awaiting the results, chances are higher to find GP jobs at reputable workplaces that offer excellent remunerations, allowances and career progression opportunities.