New GP Training Training Boundaries FAQs

2014-15 Budget announcements

Why has a decision to change the geographical boundaries and to undertake a competitive tender for future Training Organisations to deliver the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program been made?

The 2014-15 Federal Budget measure, Rebuilding general practice training and education to deliver more GPs, included changes to the delivery of the AGPT program.  This included a consolidation of regional Training Organisations to improve efficiency in the delivery of training support.  The efficiencies will be achieved by reducing corporate overheads.

A review of geographical boundaries was completed in consultation with GP training stakeholders.  This resulted in training regions announced on 9th April 2015. 

The Department of Health has consulted widely with GP stakeholder groups, including the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the General Practice Supervisors Australia (GPSA), the General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA)

Continuity of Services

Will General Practice Education and Training (GPET) Limited remain the funding agreement managers for the future Training Organisations delivering the AGPT program?

As part of the Federal Budget 2014-15 Budget measure, the functions of GPET were merged into the Department of Health. GPET ceased on 31 December 2014 and all current Regional Training Provider (RTP) funding agreements were novated to the Department of Health for their continued management to the end of the funding agreement period on 31 December 2015. The Government remains committed to delivering health training in regional and rural communities and maintaining Australia’s high standards of GP training, and will continue to work closely with GP groups to ensure that high quality GP training standards will be maintained.

Will there be an impact on GP registrar training and education?

GP registrars will not be negatively impacted by the cessation of GPET and the novation of the RTP funding agreements to the Department of Health.  On the ground training and education of GP registrars will continue to be managed by the current RTPs until the end of 2015.  Successful tenderers will be contracted to operate alongside existing RTPs (where necessary) for a three month transition period, from October – 31 December 2015.  It is of paramount importance to the Government to ensure GP registrars and the practices where they are training are not disadvantaged during any stage of the transition process. The Australian Government is committed to retaining the high standards of training under the AGPT program to ensure that we meet the general practice needs of all Australian communities.

When will the new Training Organisations become operational?

The new Training Organisations will become operational from 1 January 2016, with a three month establishment and transition-in period from October 2015 where necessary. Australian Government funding will cease under current RTP funding agreements as at 31 December 2015 as scheduled under those funding agreements. 

New Training Organisations will receive Australian Government funding for a three year funding agreement period commencing 1 January 2016.  Continuity of the delivery of the AGPT program is a priority in the establishment of new Training Organisations and the Department will work to minimise disruption to GP registrars, GP practices and GP supervisors.

Will new Training Organisations operate the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP)?

As per the Federal Budget 2014-15 Budget measure, the PGPPP ceased on 31 December 2014.  Savings from the PGPPP have offset an increase in the number of entrants into the AGPT program by 300 per year from 2015 onwards. This will assist in reducing the pressure on the number of junior doctors remaining in the hospital system due to the lack of vocational training places and address predicted shortages in the GP workforce. The increase in the number of entrants for the AGPT 2015 cohort, and subsequent increases in future years, will provide more opportunities for junior doctors to secure a placement in the AGPT program.

Will new Training Organisations operate the OTDNET programme?

Delivery of the OTDNET programme is currently under review.  All applicants who have been selected for the OTDNET programme and have a training plan in place prior to the end of 2015 will continue their training through to completion.

What will happen to staff and health professionals currently working in RTPs?

RTPs were established as independent companies limited by guarantee. As such, the business decision to tender or cease operations rests with each RTP. RTPs are responsible for ensuring their staff are treated fairly under the applicable state Industrial Relations Act should there be a requirement for redundancies. The Department of Health acknowledges the wealth of expertise and knowledge of staff currently employed by RTPs and employment opportunities may be available in new training organisations.

How will the transition to new Training Organisations affect the application and selection of the registrar cohort commencing training in 2016?

Due to the change in geographical boundaries and the tender process for the AGPT program, the following information is provided to assist applicants who are considering applying for the 2016 cohort:

1. 13 April -8 May: Applicants for the GP training program will initially be asked to express preferences against geographic training regions rather than training organisations as has occurred in the past.

2. 10 – 17 August: Applicants will have an opportunity to review and adjust their preferences when they have their national test results (Multiple Mini Interviews and Situational Judgement Test). 

3. 21 August – 18 September: As part of their obligations in 2015, existing RTPs will be tasked with finalising the selection of registrars, and making placement offers for each region for 2016.

Role and function of new Training Organisations

Is there any difference in the functions being provided by the current RTPs and the new Training Organisations?

New Training Organisations will perform many similar functions to RTPs, in coordinating the training of GP registrars towards specialist registration as a GP.  All training organisations will be required to attain and maintain Bi-college Accreditation[1] status to ensure the training and education of GP registrars meets the ACRRM and RACGP standards and curriculum. The AGPT program Approach to Market (ATM) tender documentation will provide detailed information on the eligibility and selection criteria which is required to be addressed by tender applicants.  The AGPT program ATM tender documentation will be available on the Department of Health and AGPT websites at: www.health.gov.au and www.agpt.com.au

How will the performance of new Training Organisations be measured?

Training Organisations will operate under a Department of Health standard funding agreement with an outcomes based performance management focus for deliverables and reporting.

Boundaries and funding

How many boundary areas will there be?

The Federal Budget 2014-15 Budget measure included a consolidation of RTPs to improve and drive efficiencies. The Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, approved a total of 11 training regions in the future.  The boundary map is available on the Department of Health and AGPT websites.

How were the boundary areas determined?

In determining boundaries, a number of factors were considered, including population size, Primary Health Network (PHN) alignment, state and territory borders, stakeholder input and administrative efficiencies.

Consultation occurred with relevant stakeholders to seek comments in relation to boundary options.  The following organisations were consulted: AMA, RACGP, ACRRM, GPSA, GPRA and RDAA. The Department of Health also received representation on this matter from a number of people currently involved in RTPs.

Governance

How will the Department of Health consult with GP stakeholders?

The Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, the Hon Sussan Ley MP has established a new GP Training Advisory Committee, which will provide a forum for GP stakeholder groups to provide input and participate in advising on policy directions, undertake continuous improvement and evaluation activities in relation to general practice.  The Advisory Committee will include the RACGP, ACRRM, GPRA, GPSA, the Department of Health, an independent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander GP, two independent clinicians and an independent chair.

If you have a question that has not been addressed above, please contact the department via the AGPT e-mail at: AGPT@health.gov.au and your question will be responded to as soon as is possible.

What does the change of boundaries and AGPT program tender process mean for GP supervisors and practices?

Will a GP supervisor and practice, who wishes to continue to train GP registrars, be able to?

Current RTP placement agreements with GP supervisors and practices will be transferred to the new Training Organisations during the three month transition period from 1 October – 31 December 2015.

What does the change of boundaries and AGPT program tender process mean for applicants and current AGPT registrars?

I am considering applying to the AGPT program, what do the boundary area changes mean for me?

When you apply for the AGPT program (13 April – 8 May 2015) you will be asked to select your preferred geographic training region, with up to four preferences to be listed. The successful training organisations to administer the AGPT program will be announced before October 2015.

I am a registrar currently in the AGPT program, will I be training under the same RTP in 2016?

The current RTPs will cease operation on 31 December 2015.  Current RTPs will either choose to: 1) cease operation at 31 December 2015 and not apply to tender as a new Training Organisation; 2) apply to tender and are successful; or, 3) apply to tender and are not successful.  If situation 2 applies, you could be training under the same Training Organisation.

I am a registrar currently in the AGPT program, if my RTP changes, what will happen to my training placement?

Your training placement will continue.  Your current RTP will transfer responsibility for your training to the new Training Organisation for your respective boundary area.  The process will take place from 1 October – 31 December 2015.

I am a registrar currently in the AGPT program, what will happen to my training records if my RTP ceases operation?

All your training records will be transferred during the transition period 1 October – 31 December 2015 from your existing RTP to the new Training Organisation for your training area.

How do I know what the geographic training regions are?

The geographic training regions are available on the AGPT website: www.agpt.com.au. This will occur before applications for entry into the AGPT program in 2016 open on 13 April 2015.

Will Registrar Liaison Officer (RLO)'s change?

Your RLO may change, this may be dependent on whether your current RTP remains in place or a new Training Organisation is engaged. 

I am a potential applicant, who will be available to answer specific questions in regard to my personal situation?

To ensure all information provided is consistent and correct, each geographic training region will have a regional contact officer. These regional contact officers will be able to assist with general enquires about the AGPT program, training requirements and training practices within that geographical training region.

We expect Regional contact officers to be listed on the AGPT website prior to applications opening (13 April 2015).

You can also seek information by emailing queries to AGPTSelection@health.gov.au.

I am a GP registrar in training, who will be available to answer specific questions in regard to my personal situation?

Your current RLO, supervisor and RTP will be in place to the end of 2015 and will be your first contact point.  You can also seek information by emailing queries to AGPT@health.gov.au.


[1] Bi-college refers to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine accreditation programme.