Specialist Training Program Initiative

Specialist Training Program Portal Announcement

The RACP’s new portal for delivering the Specialist Training Program (STP) and Tasmanian Project is now live. From Semester Two 2017 all progress reports must be submitted electronically via the portal. Portal access is strictly limited to one Liaison Officer per Funding and Administration Agreement. Approved users will receive an email from our STP Team with log in credentials.

The Australian Government Specialist Training Program (STP) is a Federal Government initiative to increase training posts for specialists outside traditional public teaching hospitals, providing an annual trainee salary contribution of $102,500 per post in 2018 and increasing to $105,000 in 2019 ongoing.

The STP Operational Framework has been updated and for more information on the background of STP, please view the STP Operational Framework on the Department's website.

The Operational Framework applies to the entire STP which is a set of three initiatives:

  1. Support of 900 training posts through the specialist medical colleges;
  2. The Tasmanian Project that supports the employment of supervisors and trainees in the Tasmanian public health system; and
  3. The new Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) measure that will support 100 training posts by 2018.

The College administers 345 STP physician posts in settings including private, rural and remote, community, aged care and Aboriginal health settings.

The Tasmanian Project

The Tasmanian Project is a Commonwealth initiative with the aim of supporting specialist fellowship training undertaken and completed in Tasmania and the retention of specialist doctors in the Tasmanian public health system. 

The College administers 14 Tasmanian Project physician posts.

STP funding is determined via application rounds by the Department of Health with assessment by the Department, the relevant specialist colleges and state/territory health jurisdictions. There are no further application rounds scheduled at this time.

Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP-STP) initiative 

The IRTP initiative is an extension of the existing STP. It will provide 100 positions in 2017 and 2018 (for all medical colleges). The RACP has been allocated six IRTP training positions in 2017 and a further ten positions in 2018.

The Integrated Rural Training Pipeline initiative requires Training sites meet the STP aims and objectives as well as the following new IRTP criteria:

  1. the trainee must spend 66 per cent of the total training time in an RA 2-5 setting
  2. the training post must be accredited
  3. the trainee must show a commitment to working in a rural area.

RACP administers 16 IRTP-STP training positions.

STP Fact Sheets

The STP fact sheet are provided for site liaison officers and supervisors and provide important information about how the Royal Australasian College of Physicians administers the Specialist Training Program (STP). Training sites are required to meet contractual obligations for STP and these are outlined in the Fact Sheet.

A fact sheet is also available for trainees who are placed in STP training positions.

Rural Support Loading funding

Rural Support Loading (RSL) provides funding of up to $22,500 (ex GST) per STP post per annum in 2018. The funding is made available to supplement the additional costs incurred by STP trainees located in regional and remote Australia, with an Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGS-RA) status of 2-5. Remoteness Area status can be determined by visiting the DoctorConnect website.

For information on how RSL funding can be spent and what the payment process is, view the College's RSL guidelines.

Private Infrastructure and Clinical Supervision (PICS) Allowance

The aim of the PICS Allowance is to support delivery of the Specialist Training Program (STP) in private sector settings. The Private Infrastructure and Clinical Supervision (PICS) Program provides additional funding for STP posts of up to $30,000 per annum.

The program has been managed for all posts by the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) until 2017. In 2018 colleges will also administer PICS payments for their respective STP and IRTP-STP training positions. Transition arrangements are currently in place for all colleges.

Read the PICS allowance guidelines (PDF 207KB).

STP Review

In September 2015, the Department of Health began a consultation process about reforms to the Specialist Training Programme.

View the RACP’s submission in response to this consultation (PDF 490KB)

The Department completed the STP Review and the STP Review Final Report was published in 2017.

The Department of Health has announced several key reforms to be implemented from 2018 onwards to ensure the program continues to deliver the best possible outcomes. A key reform is the review of all currently funded STP training positions to ensure each position still meets the aims and objectives of the program.

RACP will conduct the review in two stages and is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

The STP review criteria are aligned to the STP Operational Framework and the STP Review Guidelines provided by the Department of Health. Training Positions that no longer meet STP aims and objectives will be phased out of the program. 

Generally the key areas to be assessed are:

  1. Contribution to the aims and objectives of STP
  2. Jurisdictional views on workforce need
  3. Past performance of the training position (vacancy rates/has site met reporting requirements/changes to the training position)
  4. Alignment with RACP targets (new targets for rural and remote and private settings – refer to the STP Review Final Report)

Specialist Training Program Portal

STP designed and developed an online portal where STP training sites can submit progress reports electronically and elect to receive Recipient Created Tax Invoices (RCTI) which provides a more streamlined and efficient payment process. The STP Portal was launched in August 2017.

More Information

Visit the Department of Health website or email them at specialist.training@health.gov.au

For more about the College's administration of STP contact stp@racp.edu.au or +61 (2) 9256 9665.

Acknowledgement: The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has received Australian Government funding under the Specialist Training Program.

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