Everything you need to know about the RACGP PEP Standard Stream

With the latest round of applications for the PEP Standard Stream opening this week, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an overview of the key aspects of the program that all applicants and medical centres need to understand.

A brief history

The Practice Experience Program Standard stream commenced in January 2019 as a pilot program, offering 400 non-VR doctors a partially funded, self-directed education program to support their progress to fellowship of the RACGP.

The program is comprised of 6-month terms, with doctors being required to complete a minimum of two terms and a maximum of five terms, depending on their individual learning requirements.

As the program has evolved, we have seen the introduction of the PEP Entry Assessment exam (PEPEA) and the Initial Core Skills Analysis (ICSA), which help the college determine the learning requirements for each individual applicant.

The PEP Standard Stream is a Section 3GA approved training program and provides doctors with A1 rates for the duration of their time on the program.

From conversations with the RACGP, it has been confirmed that these rates will be in place until the doctor achieves fellowship (FRACGP), even when they have completed the training component.

What locations are eligible for the PEP Standard Stream?

The RACGP defines location eligibility as being in a Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2-7 location, although applications for MMM1 locations may be accepted, either in exceptional circumstances or if the applicant already has a current provider number in that location issued by another Section 3GA program.

The information regarding 19AB requirements are less clear. Distribution Priority Areas (DPAs) that are in MMM2-7 locations are certainly eligible, but there are still questions regarding locations with a valid District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) replacement provision.

The RACGP states that you may be deemed ineligible if your application does not meet your 19AB obligations. It also states in their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ12) that IMGs subject to 19AB must practice in a DPA area.

We have asked both the RACGP and Department of Health for clarity on this matter, especially if the doctor is already working in a MMM2-7 location and has a valid 19AB exemption, but that location is not DPA. We will provide further information on this in due course.

You can use the Health Workforce Locator to search for suitable locations. Make sure you tick the MMM (2019) and DPA for GPs boxes.

When does the PEP Standard Stream commence?

The Standard Stream has four starting points each year. 1st January, April, July and October.

Applications are open until 31st January for the July 1st intake and open again between 14th April and 4th May for the October intake. Applicants are allowed to apply once every six months

Do I need an RACGP assessment to be able to apply for PEP?

From 2020, GPE assessments are no longer required.

How much does the program cost?

The cost of the program will rise from the October 2020 intake from $2,000 per term to $4,650 per term. This rise is to fund the additional role that the Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) will play in the delivery of training, which will be of great benefit to participants and medical centres alike.

It is important to note that these costs will largely be offset by the doctor’s ability to access the A1 schedule of rates, which is 20% higher than the A7 schedule.

Applicants will also need to pay the PEPEA fee of $725.00 and an annual RACGP Registrar Membership fee of $490.00.

What is the PEPEA?

The PEP entrance assessment was introduced in November 2019 and is a series of 100 Situational Judgement Test questions.

The three remaining PEP exam dates for 2020 are scheduled for the 3rd April 4th July and 18th September.

The RACGP recommend the following using these resources to best prepare for the assessment.

Nb. A PEPEA pass is valid for 12 months

What are the benefits of PEP Standard Stream over other 3GA programs?

The PEP Standard Stream, AGPT, RVTS and the ACRRM Independent Pathway (AiP) are all excellent Section 3GA approved training programs that provide doctors access to A1 rates.

The main benefits of the PEP Standard Stream are:

Location:

This may be one of the biggest benefits, allowing doctors to work in MMM2 – 7 locations, providing they satisfy their 19AB requirements. RVTS requires MMM4+ and, AiP requires MMM3+.

Unlike AGPT, you can remain in one location for the duration of your training.

Residency status:

Unlike AGPT, the PEP Standard Stream accepts applications from temporary residents, as well as permanent residents and citizens.

Educational support:

In partnership with the Regional Training Organisations (RTOs), including RVTS, the PEP Standard Stream provides excellent support.

In conclusion

After only 12 months, the RACGP PEP Standard Stream has quickly evolved and established itself as a key Section 3GA training program.

The partnership with the RTOs has further strengthened the educational support provided to doctors. The less restrictive eligibility criteria has proved to be an excellent option for non-VR doctors.

The program continues to develop its offering and simplify its processes, which has already seen a significant reduction in the time for provider numbers to be granted.

DXC Medical specialises in supporting non-VR doctors and practices in MMM2-7 locations. Every doctor and practice requirement are unique. The DXC team are happy to arrange a convenient time to discuss your specific needs with you.

For more information on anything covered in this blog, please contact:

Darren Compton

0405 234 852

Darren.compton@dxcmedical.com.au

To view the latest RACGP PEP GP Jobs listed with DXC Medical, please click HERE