FAQs

Our COVID-19 updates

If you don't get our COVID-19 email updates, check your junk mail or contact us to confirm the mailing lists you're subscribed to and your email address.

We're answering all your COVID-19 questions and we'll endeavour to keep you updated. Contact us if you have a question not answered here.

Wellbeing

I’ve been impacted by changes to training. How is the College supporting me?

Your health and wellbeing is incredibly important to us. Our support resources are available to all members and includes a free, confidential and independent helpline.

Our guiding principle is to treat all trainees fairly and with compassion. Impacts of COVID-19 on training will be considered as exceptional circumstances.

I’ve had to self-isolate. Do I have access to additional leave from training?

If you need to self-isolate or take leave due to illness or carers’ responsibilities because of COVID-19, you can take up to 14 days of leave from training in addition to the standard 8 weeks. You’ll need to provide supporting evidence from your employer, GP or other medical practitioner.

If you need more leave than this, your Training Committee will consider the exceptional circumstances and your supervisors’ feedback when making progress decisions at the end of the year.

Are there changes to the Trainees in Difficulty Support Pathway?

We won’t make changes to the pathway or requirements at this time. Our primary goal is to maintain a safe and healthy workforce throughout the stresses caused by COVID-19. Contact us if you have concerns about your support or need to discuss your current situation.

Clinical support

Where do I get information and advice on conducting physical examinations of patients?

Refer to the World Health Organisation's technical guidance for health workers.

Are there clinical resources for managing COVID-19 cases?

Check out the advice and news on COVID-19 for the most recent clinical advice for physicians. Learning resources covering a range of different specialties can be found on our Online Learning Resources hub.

How can I protect myself, my colleagues and my patients?

Check out the advice and news on COVID-19 for the most recent clinical advice for physicians. Follow the guidance from the Australian Government, Australian Government Department of Health, and the Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health.

What is the College's position on trainees and personal protective equipment (PPE)?

We’re advocating for access to PPE on behalf of all members.

See the Communicable Disease Network Australia’s PPE advice in National guidelines for public health units. Follow this advice and local clinical guidelines on using PPE during patient or community care.

Social distancing requirements apply to supervision and assessments. Speak to your supervisor or DPE with any concerns.


Trainees

Training requirements

Do I need to complete work-based assessments this year?

At this stage, yes. Check the new deadline dates relevant for your circumstances.

Training Committees are reviewing training requirements to see what changes are needed during the pandemic. We’ll advise if the work-based assessments change.

We expect all training is supervised and supported, whether you’re in a planned training position or have been redeployed to cover COVID-19. Your training should include opportunities to receive regular feedback and complete your work-based assessments.

Are there exemptions or extensions to the Advanced Training logbook requirements?

Our Training Committees are reviewing training requirements to determine if any additional changes are needed during the pandemic. This includes guidance on requirements that may be waived or extended or replaced by another form of assessment.

My training program requires me to attend conferences, events or external courses. Can I get exemptions to these requirements?

The College Education Committee has agreed that the requirement to attend or present at conferences or events is waived in 2020. Advanced Trainees in their final year may have to do an alternative assessment.

Our Training Committees are reviewing training requirements to determine if any additional changes are needed during the pandemic. This includes guidance on requirements that may be waived, extended or replaced by another form of assessment.

Training rotations

My planned training rotations have changed due to my training setting’s response to COVID-19. How will this affect my training time certification?

Training during the COVID-19 pandemic could be a valuable experience for all trainees if appropriate orientation and supervision is in place. We want as much training to count towards your program requirements as possible. There are still minimum requirements though that need to be met.

We’re working with the Training Committees to review training requirements and provide information for each program on the impact of COVID-19 on training, training rotations and certification of training time.

The pandemic has changed my 2020 training plans. How can I change my planned interruption of training or FTE hours in training?

A lot of unpredicted change has happened since you submitted your annual application for Basic or Advanced Training. We’re working on a simple process to help you make changes to your training plans for 2020 and we’ll notify you once it’s been finalised.

I need to withdraw from training for a period as my training plans fell through unexpectedly. Can I have an extension to my overall time limit to complete training?

Yes. All current trainees now have an extra 12 months to meet their training program requirements. This is in addition to the time limits outlined in the Progression Through Training Policy.

Will you refund or adjust training and exam fees if training is unexpectedly interrupted or if rotations no longer count towards meeting training requirements?

Our current policy allows us to refund fees when training has not been approved. For 2020 only, trainees won’t be charged an interruption fee or a continuation fee. Training and exam fees will continue to be reviewed as a result of COVID-19.

Will training fees be reduced due to family income being impacted?

No, training fees won't be reduced. However, you can pay by instalment or through a tailored payment plan. Contact the College for assistance.

Examinations

I was due to begin Advanced Training in the middle of the year pending passing the Divisional Clinical Exam. How will my training be affected?

You can still progress to Advanced Training (AT) in the middle of the year if you:

  • completed all other Basic Training requirements, including passing the Divisional Written Examination AND
  • secured an AT position that starts after the date you would have sat the clinical exam in 2020 (this position must be in an accredited AT setting, approved by the relevant AT Committee) AND
  • plan to sit the next scheduled offering of the DCE in 2021.

For Basic Trainees currently on the Training Support Pathway:

  • all of the above conditions must be met AND
  • your current supervising committee must recommend advancing to provisional AT.

We are developing guidance to support this process.

Will there be provisions made for trainees who won’t be able to sit the postponed Clinical Exam in 2021?

No decision has been made on this yet.

What happens if I provisionally move to Advanced Training but don’t pass the postponed Clinical Exam in 2021?

Any training provisionally approved as 'conditional upon passing the Clinical Examination' will not be accepted as Advanced Training.

We are developing further guidance to support this process.

Trainees will get at least 3 months’ notice of new exam dates.

Are there proposed dates for the rescheduled exams in 2021? Will there be 2 of each exam in 2021?

Nothing is confirmed at this stage. Once information is available, we'll inform trainees and DPEs. Trainees will be notified at least 3 months in advance of the rescheduled exam.

With the postponement of exams, is there still a deadline to register and pay for exams?

There is no deadline at this stage. Once new dates have been set, we'll announce the new deadlines.

Which exams have been cancelled or postponed?

Most exams have been postponed until 2021.

We’re looking at the timing and format of exams for next year and making contingency plans in case the pandemic continues into 2021. We’ll give at least 3 months’ notice of new exam dates.

Will you provide additional learning resources to help me prepare for the Divisional Clinical Examination, since my hospital-based teaching sessions are disrupted?

The College Learning Series and other learning resources are available on our Online Learning Resources hub. Use these as part of your exam preparation.

We’re discussing additional learning resources with the COVID-19 Examinations Advisory Group.

Can you guarantee there will be capacity for all eligible trainees to sit the 2021 Divisional Clinical Examination?

Our COVID-19 Examinations Advisory Group is developing plans for increased candidate numbers for all exams postponed until 2021.

How does postponing exams impact the 2021 Divisional Written Examination and rollout of computer-based testing?

Our COVID-19 Examinations Advisory Group is developing plans for postponed and scheduled 2021 exams, including the Divisional Written Exam and the announced re-introduction of computer-based testing.

Progression through training

I’m in my final year of Basic Training. Can I still apply for 2021 Advanced Training positions, given the Divisional Clinical Exam has been postponed?

Yes. Apply for an AT position only if you will have completed all other Basic Training requirements by the time the new position starts.

If you’re currently on the Training Support Pathway, your current supervising committee must also recommend you advance to provisional AT before you can apply for a position.

All provisionally approved Advanced Trainees must attempt the next scheduled offering of the DCE in 2021. If you’re unsuccessful, any training provisionally approved as 'conditional upon passing the Clinical Examination' will not be accepted as AT.

We are developing guidance to support this process.

Will my progression to Advanced Training be delayed because of the postponed Divisional Clinical Examinations?

We’ll make temporary changes to the Selection into Training Policy. These changes will allow trainees in their final year of Basic Training to provisionally progress into Advanced Training (AT) without passing the Divisional Clinical Exam (DCE).

If you were hoping to sit the DCE this year, you can apply for provisional Advanced Training (pAT) for either later in 2020 or in 2021 if you:

  • completed all other Basic Training requirements, including passing the Divisional Written Examination AND
  • secured an AT position that starts after the date you would have sat the clinical exam in 2020 (this position must be in an accredited AT setting, approved by the relevant AT Committee) AND
  • plan to sit the next scheduled offering of the DCE in 2021.

For Basic Trainees currently on the Training Support Pathway:

  • all of the above conditions must be met AND
  • your current supervising committee must recommend advancing to provisional AT.

We are developing guidance to support this process.

Trainees will get at least 3 months’ notice of new exam dates.

Will my admission to Fellowship be delayed because of COVID-19?

Training during COVID-19 is a valuable experience for all trainees and we’ll try to make training during this year count as much as possible.

Advanced Training supervisors can recommend progression into Fellowship for final year trainees whose training time hasn’t been completed due to the pandemic.

Advanced Training Committees make the final decision on completion of training and admission to Fellowship. Advanced Training Committees are reviewing training requirements to determine if any additional changes are needed during the pandemic. This includes guidance on requirements that can be waived, extended or replaced by another form of assessment.

Is my training in 2020 going to be certified or will my training progress be delayed?

We’re working with the Training Committees to review the impact of COVID-19 on current requirements. We’ll prepare program-specific guidance to address the impact on training time and what this means for certification of training time.


Fellows

My role as a physician

As a physician (addiction, sexual health, occupational and environmental) in Australia, which Telehealth item numbers are applicable to me? Are they the same ones other physicians use?

Refer to the MBS website. Find advice on Medicare billing, claiming, payments and obtaining a provider number on Services Australia — Health Professionals or ring 13 21 50.

What should I do if my annual income is severely affected by COVID-19? Do I still need to pay my membership fees?

If you meet the income criteria, you can apply for a fee exemption.

I'm a retired physician. What are my obligations regarding returning to the workforce as part of the pandemic sub-register?

You won't be charged any College fees and won't have any CPD obligations. Contact us so we can update your record.

College requirements

How will COVID-19 affect my CPD for 2019 and 2020?

The deadline for 2019 has been extended until 31 July 2020. For 2020, the MBA won’t take action if CPD requirements aren't met.

I registered for a SPDP workshop this year. Is it still going ahead?

We’re moving many workshops to Zoom. We’ll email you when we know if your workshop is going ahead, postponed to later in the year or cancelled.

Find the latest information on future workshops.

What happens if I don’t complete one SPDP workshop by the end of 2020 deadline?

You have a 12-month extension to complete your first SPDP module. All supervisors must complete 1 workshop by the end of 2021. The deadline to complete all 3 workshops is still the end of 2022.

Am I eligible for an exemption from SPDP?

To be eligible for an exemption, you must have completed:

  • formal medical education studies or equivalent supervisor training with another medical college (like the RCPA)
  • a minimum of 3 years’ experience as a RACP supervisor.

You can only apply for an exemption from SPDP 1 and SPDP 2.

How can I help with delivering SPDP training?

If you’ve completed SPDP facilitator training and want to facilitate either via Zoom or online, email supervisor@racp.edu.au

How is COVID-19 changing the rollout of the new Basic Training program?

We’re working closely with the Directors of Physician or Paediatric Education at the planned 2020 Early Adopter training settings to monitor the situation and set up contingency plans in case training settings need to withdraw from the planned rollout.

The earliest the new Basic Training programs will rollout is the final rotation of the 2020 clinical year.


Training settings

Accreditation

How are you managing the planned re-accreditation of training settings?

All accreditation visits scheduled for 2020 are postponed to 2021. At-risk settings with trainee safety concerns or training quality issues will be prioritised for the first visits when accreditation resumes. We’ll conduct assessments via videoconference if needed.

Any training settings identified as at-risk of losing accreditation during the pandemic need to provide us with progress reports, outlining strategies to address identified risks.

My training setting has made changes to our team location, clinics and activities in readiness for COVID-19 cases. Will this impact our accreditation status?

We understand the need to make urgent changes to rotations which will impact training experiences and clinical exposure. The COVID-19 Training and Accreditation Advisory Group is considering some simple processes for training settings to advise us of temporary changes to planned training activities.

My training setting has applied for RACP accreditation. Can we still have trainees at our site if accreditation visits are delayed?

Unaccredited training settings still need to go through the RACP accreditation process before training is allowed. We’re working with the Training Committees to increase flexibility to this rule. This includes investigating a provisional accreditation process.

Entry and selection into training

Do you have advice for selection and recruitment panels this year in the absence of Divisional Clinical Examination results?

The delay of the Divisional Clinical Exam is beyond trainees’ control. Instead of looking at exam pass marks, consider trainees’ overall competency and suitability for training positions in your settings.

Find out more about fair and transparent selection and recruitment processes.

Will 2021 training position recruitment still be between May and August?

Recruitment into training positions is led by local health departments who are currently considering if they need to amend this year’s dates. They’ll communicate details when available.

We’re meeting with local health jurisdictions regularly to discuss changes and we’ll update you as they become available. Watch our COVID-19 section for the latest information.

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