Changes to GP Training Programs

As of 1st of January this year, the Other Medical Practitioners (OMPs) programs are closed to new participants. The Other Medical Practitioners programs were designed for non-VR doctors to access higher Medicare rebates if they met certain eligibility criteria and provided services in approved locations. The programs included the Rural Other Medical Practitioners program (ROMPs), After Hours Other Medical Practitioners (AHOMPs),
Doctor as instructor presenting and training during seminar

Medicare Plus for Other Medical Practitioners Program (MOMPs), and the Outer Metropolitan Other Medical Practitioners (OMOMPs) program.

Changes to Medicare benefits introduced on the 1st July 2018 mean vocationally recognised GPs and non-vocationally recognised doctors now bill Medicare according to their qualification level. Full access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) will cease as of 30 June 2023 for non-VR doctors unless they are pursuing or have achieved Fellowship through either the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or are participating in the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP).

More Doctors for Rural Australia program is a workforce initiative designed to bring more doctors to rural and remote areas in Australia. Non-VR doctors participating in MDRAP can access a Medicare benefit while working towards Fellowship. Subsidies are available to assist medical practitioners to gain Fellowship and vocational registration as a specialist general practitioner, as announced in the 2018-19 budget as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy. The changes have been made to help more evenly distribute healthcare services across Australia and to incentivise general practitioners to attain specialist GP qualification.

The Fellowship Programs through ACRRM and RACGP offer multiple training streams to provide flexibility for doctors. The RACGP’s Practice Experience Program offers non-VR doctors working in a general practice an education program to help them pass Fellowship exams. Previously such doctors, many of whom are international medical graduates, often had to prepare for Fellowship exams in isolated settings and with little support. The program, funded to a large extent by the Australian government, is expected to support more than 3000 non-VR general practitioners.

The ACRRM offers an Independent Pathway towards Fellowship. The specialist GP training and education program has been developed by rural practitioners, and accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). The pathway provides GPs with a dedicated training officer, personalised guidance and up to three years recognition of prior learning.

Eligibility and entrance requirements vary according to each program. More information is available via each of the Colleges’ websites.