RACGP New Pathway – Practice Experience Pathway – Transition Medical

From 1 September 2019, The Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream replaces the Specialist Recognition Program (SRP). Here we’ll give you a summary of the new pathway and what is means for you as a UK trained GP.

The PEP Specialist Stream is a 3GA workforce program that provides structured education and peer support for specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) with a specialist qualification, working towards Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP). The purpose for the change is to ensure a robust and more uniform approach to the assessment of IMGs. Under the new PEP pathway, overseas trained specialist GPs will no longer be able to apply for reciprocal RACGP fellowship – Fellowship ad eundem gradum before commencing work in Australia.

Overseas trained GPs will apply for a provisional registration (if you hold a competent authority qualification) or limited registration with The Medical Board in Australia (AHPRA) whilst working towards Fellowship. The benefits of the new program include Australian Government co-funded program support; capacity to bill for services under the highest value Medicare Benefits Schedule item; access to a suite of comprehensive educational resources as well as peer support and feedback while transitioning into Australian general practice.

Once you have received your comparability outcome and wish to enter the PEP you must have a job offer in a practice located in MM1-7. Substantially comparable applicants can work in areas MMM1-7 (PEP Priority GP catchment area, a new subclass which further information is still pending from the Department of Health). Partially comparable applicants can work in MMM2-7. The application process remains relatively similar to the SRP pathway which we will guide you through step by step.

As an overseas-trained doctor, you will need to work in a Distribution Priority Area (DPA) in order to access Medicare benefits and if you require sponsored visa then the practice must also be eligible for a Health Workforce Certificate.

For further information on your current circumstances and how the new changes will affect you please do get in touch with one of our team.

Further Reading

New DPA Legislation Changes

7 Benefits of Working in Rural Australia

Health Workforce Certificates Explained

DWS Changes – Australia

The existing District Workforce Shortage currently in place in Australia for overseas trained GPs is being replaced by Distribution Priority Areas. Read below to find out more.

Its been confirmed by the Department of Health that changes to the DWS methodology are coming into place from 1st July (although no public release has been made available yet)

So What is changing?

The Government are reviewing the current methodology to see how it can better reflect the needs of an area. The current system relies on outdated population data which means that the DWS system is not accurately assessing the medical workforce in towns that have experienced population growth over the past decade.

The DPA for GPs will use a new methodology that takes several factors into consideration, for example, socio-economic and demographic factors of patients, GP services currently available.

The Department will soon be issuing further information which we will share as soon as we have it.

If you have any questions our team are here to help.

New RACGP Pathway Changes | Australia

Adding to a rather changeable few months for GPs relocating to Australia, the RACGP have recently announced further changes to the registration pathway.

As of 1 September 2019, the current Specialist Recognition Program will close to be replaced by the PEP Specialist Stream.After this date, the RACGP will no longer award Fellowship ad eudum gradum directly and will require a period of supervision and workbased assessment prior to being awarded Fellowship with the College. GPs will however still be granted with Specialist Medicare provider numbers to allow full access to Medicare rebates, and not negatively affecting your income.

It also means that GPs enrolling in this pathway will be required to work only in areas classified as MMM2-MMM7.The state capitals of Australia are primarily MMM1 therefore moving overseas trained GPs to more regional locations.

The new Health Workforce Certificates remain in place and will work in conjunction with the PEP specialist pathway. District of Workforce shortage is also a requirement.

We strongly recommend that if you are interested in working in one of the cities then you get in touch to discuss your plans further and applying for a job prior to the changes coming in September this year.

Further Reading

7 Benefits of working in Regional Australia

Visas for GPs – Health Workforce Certificates

Medical Registration Australia


7 Benefits of Working as a GP in Rural Australia | Transition Medical

Seven Amazing Benefits of Working as a GP in Regional Australia

After the Department of Health in Australia’s recent announcement and the RACGP change in pathway being implemented in September 2019, there are now further geographical limitations for overseas trained GPs. You may be wondering how these new regulations will impact your move down under. Will it even still be possible?

The good news is that there’ll still be plenty of GP vacancies. It won’t perhaps be possible within the Australian state capitals so GPs will have to look further afield. There will still be lots of options in smaller cities, regional towns and stunning coastal environments. 

Thankfully, Australia’s more regional areas have some amazing benefits, both in terms of lifestyle and professional development. You may discover that living in smaller cities and towns offers you the ideal escape and a more relaxed lifestyle, perfect for you and your family.

Here are some of the fantastic advantages of working and living as a GP in Australia’s more rural regions.

Expand your repertoire

As a GP at a smaller practice, you may need to develop a wider range of skills and become a bit of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’. You might work with patients outside your normal skill set, see a broader range of illnesses, or have more opportunities than you would in urban clinics. All of which, will look great on your CV when, if, you decide to relocate to another area or practice.

Greater autonomy and responsibility

We recently spoke with David, one of the GP’s we helped move to Australia’s West Coast, to discover the benefits of working as a GP in rural Australia. As he explained:

My day is probably not typical of most GPs in Australia. I see 8 patients in the morning and 7 patients in the afternoon with around 20 minutes per patient…

There are lots of people to help. The patients have plenty of support from specialists. I can order a CT scan or an x-ray in a few days rather than it taking a month.”

Read more about David’s experiences here.

Play an active role in the community

GPs, especially in rural regions, are figures of the community and work closely with local people to promote their health and well-being. You’ll get to spend more time with patients and, as a result, get to know them on a more personal level. So, rather than trying to fill quotas, as you would in a large urban clinic, you can focus on treating the individual — not just the symptoms.

Work with aboriginal people

Over 65% of aboriginal people live in rural regions, which means that as a rural GP you’ll have the opportunity to work with this group of people and learn about their unique approaches to medicine as well as their health problems.

David, our GP in Western Australia, explained that on a typical day:

“I work with Aboriginal patients. About 60% of the Australian population is obese, and this is higher in the aboriginal community. It’s not unusual to see complex diabetes, high blood pressure, lots of alcohol and drug misuse and social disruption.”

Experience Australian Nature

Australia has some stunning nature like the Great Barrier Reef as well as unique wildlife and fauna. Living in remote regions allows you to experience the very best of Australian nature.

As a regional GP, you might live in areas like Bunbury, Busselton or Cairns:


  • Bunbury. Bunbury is best known for its resident population of wild bottlenose dolphins that can often be seen swimming off Koombana Bay. As such, you can swim with these intelligent creatures at the Dolphin Discovery Centre or spend your weekends kayaking through Leschenault Inlet with its calm waters and rich mangroves.



  • Busselton. Located at Western Australia’s southwest tip, the city of Busselton is surrounded by stunning coast. Nearby, there’s a sheltered beach, perfect for young families and children, and you might even spot a humpback whale.



  • Cairns. Cairns is one of the best places to access the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s popular with divers and snorkelers. It’s also quite close to Daintree National Park, where you can spend your weekends hiking through lush mountainous rainforest and gorges or sunbathing on the beach. With so much surrounding it, Cairns is easily a nature-enthusiasts’ paradise.


Relax in small Australian cities

Living in remote regions doesn’t mean you have to live in the outback. Australia’s rural areas have a few cities like MacKay in Queensland. Mackay has a population of 125,000 and offers a great selection of restaurants, boutiques and a city water park.

It’s also within proximity of Australian nature like the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests, and idyllic islands. So, you can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

Better Quality of Life

Living and working in rural regions is, in general, more relaxing. The lower living costs mean that your salary will go further, so you can buy (or rent) a bigger house and enjoy the finest things in life. GP also report being less stressed, getting to spend more time with family and enjoying an overall better quality of life.

Discover GP Vacancies in Regional Australia with Transition Medical

Here at Transition Medical, we have some exciting opportunities in rural regions of Australia. Browse our latest openings or contact our dedicated recruitment consultants to discuss areas and positions that might be a good fit for you and your family.

Related Articles 

Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand | Transition Medical

Your Guide to Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand

So, you’re thinking about moving to New Zealand? Perhaps, you’ve already secured a job offer from one of our lovely GP clinics. Or, maybe you’re still in the early days of researching and planning?

Whatever stage you’re at in your move down under, our guide offers impartial advice on to shipping your belongings to New Zealand and starting your new life as a local GP.

Shipping your belongings down under is certainly not an easy task. It’ll take some preparation and even professional help. But, let’s start at the very beginning — figuring out what you should bring with you.

How to Figure Out What to Bring When Moving to New Zealand

Getting your life into a shipping container is a tricky challenge, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a long time. On the one hand, it can be sad to say goodbye to the old jumper you’ve had since college, but on the other hand, bringing everything with you can be extremely price.

Start by thinking about whether the cost of shipping the item outweighs the sentimental or actual value of your belongings. Some things can’t be replaced or would be pricey to do so. You may also want to have familiar items in your new home, especially if you’re moving to New Zealand with young children.

Next, think about your new life and house. What items will fit in your new home? Are you downsizing to a smaller place? If so, not all your furniture will fit. Also, remember that New Zealand houses are different from UK homes so they might have different space requirements. Your new home may also come with some items like large scale appliances or furniture.

When thinking about electrical items, it’s important to remember that New Zealand has a different electrical system. While appliances in New Zealand use the same electrical voltage as the UK, the maximum current is only 10 amps (rather than the 13 we use here). So, you’ll need to check that your appliances will work, before you ship them.

What You Can’t Ship to New Zealand

New Zealand has some strict requirements on what you can’t bring with you. These rules are in place to protect their unique and beautiful ecosystem and largely apply to items that might impact it.

Items that are strictly prohibited:

  • Weapons and firearms
  • Most food items
  • Items made from animal by-products including coral, snakeskin, whalebone, shells or fur
  • Medicines using musk, horn or bone

Items that require additional documents or quarantine:

  • Herbs & spices
  • Taxidermied animals
  • Bamboo, cane, rattan, basketry and mats
  • Unprocessed wool and animal hair
  • Dried flowers or bulbs
  • Saddles and riding equipment
  • Artefacts (wooden carvings, shields, masks, etc.)
  • Camping equipment
  • Vacuum cleaners

Check the status of any item on New Zealand’s customs service website.

What to Do If You Plan on Bringing Any of the Above

If you plan to bring these items, you’ll need to declare them on your itinerary before departing. While you probably won’t get stopped at Customs, the risk isn’t worth it as you’ll face a hefty fine if they discover any of these items, undeclared, in your suitcase.

You’ll get a bill for any inspections, treatments and disposal or exportation of any items customs refuses. And, the total cost can be mind-blowing.

How to Pack Your Belongings for Moving to New Zealand

Controlled Items

As part of the packing process, it’s important to clean anything that’s come in contact with freshwater or soil. For example, you’ll need to clean items like camping equipment, fishing supplies, hiking shoes, and watersport accessories like dive suits or life vests.

After you’ve cleaned these items, make sure to pack them in the same box and clearly label what’s in the box. Customs offers charge by the hour, so anything you can do to speed up their work will reduce the overall costs if your container is inspected.


You’ll obviously want to bring along your clothes. When packing your clothes, remember that New Zealand has different seasons than in the UK. So, when it’s winter here, it’ll be summer there and vice versa.

Make sure to pack warmer/summer clothes, depending on the season in New Zealand, last so it’ll be easy to access your clothes immediately. You may also want to pack one or two bags separately and check these bags under the plane, so you’ll have clothes while you wait for your container to clear customs.

Electrical Items

As we discussed earlier, New Zealand has a different electrical system than the UK and their electrical current tops out at 10 amps, three amps less than Britain. So, you’ll need to check your devices before you pay to ship them down under and discover that they won’t work there.

You can find this information on most electrical devices or by looking up the brand/model online. Anything that needs a stronger current, above 10 amps, should be left at home. Most appliances should be fine, but pay close attention to any heat generating items like kettles, toasters, hair dryers and lamps as these typically require more energy so might exceed 10 amps.

Shipping a Car to New Zealand from UK

Should you bring your car? It may seem tempting, but most professional moving companies suggest otherwise.

Importing a car to New Zealand can be extremely expensive and complicated, making it simply not worth it. New Zealand has some tough regulations on vehicles, so bringing your car down under is very time-consuming and will require far more paperwork and money than other items.

Some companies may help you with the cost as part of your relocation package. Before you take them up on the offer, you’ll need to consider whether your car will meet New Zealand’s regulations as they have strict standards on factors like emission rates so many UK cars won’t pass the test without serious work. So, you may find it easier to buy a new car rather than ship your old one.

If you’re still thinking about shipping your car, you can find more information on the process and requirements on NZ Transportation Agency’s website.

What Documents You’ll Need Before Moving to New Zealand 

Once you’ve figured out what items you’ll take and started packing, you’ll need to contact a shipping company. Most shipping companies will help you sort custom documents and streamline the process.

But, it’s important to know the documents you’ll need to ship your household goods. Most people will need:

  • A copy of their passport & visa (so you’ll need to secure a new job before you start the shipping process)
  • A combined customs and quarantine declaration form
  • A numbered inventory/packing list
  • A personal effects supplementary declarations for consignments containing items which are a biosecurity risk.
  • Valid treatment certificates for goods that have been fumigated, heat treated or cleaned.

Your moving company can advise on any additional forms you may need.

How to Ship Your Belongings to New Zealand

When it comes to shipping your items, you have a few options depending on how much stuff you plan on bringing with you.

Sole use containers. Best for people looking to ship most of their belongings, sole use containers are one of the cheapest and quickest methods. You can use either a 20ft container, which is generally large enough to fit a 2- 3 bedroom house. Or, a 40ft container, which can hold a 3- 4 bedroom house. From door-to-door, sole use containers take eight to ten weeks to arrive in New Zealand.

Groupage. If you only plan on bringing a small amount of items (i.e. less than a 2-3 bedroom house), groupage consignment might be a good option as your stuff is grouped with other items which will reduce the overall cost. However, this method normally takes a bit longer at about 10-14 weeks.

Cost of Moving Belongings to New Zealand

The expected cost varies widely based on how much stuff you’re shipping and the type of items. You’ll have to take clearance and customs duties, insurance, storage costs as well as international shipping costs into account.

Generally, most families pay between £2000 to £5000 depending on container sizes and final destination. But, we recommend shopping around to make sure you find the best deal and a company that can meet your needs.

Transition Medical — Helping GPs Make the Move Down Under

Here at Transition Medical, we specialise in helping UK GPs make the move to New Zealand. We’ll support you throughout the entire process, from connecting you with attractive GP New Zealand vacancies to providing advice on moving your family pet and finding a new school for your children.

Check out our other related blogs for more information on making the move.

Other Related Blogs 

What if it becomes harder to work in Australia cities?

The new Visas for GP legislation has been in place now for almost 2 weeks. The information is trickling through from the Department of Health and our GP clients which is allowing us to slowly build a picture of what it means for UK trained GPs working in Australia.

We have heard from a couple of metropolitan city-based practices that their workforce certificate has been declined. This doesn’t by any means give a complete picture as these are only small areas of larger cities and is no indication of the major cities not being available for UK GPs. The Workforce Agency has confirmed that it is not preventing the issuing of employer sponsored visas for overseas trained GPs in these state capitals however reducing the number of eligible positions. The numbers will be adjusted based on the number of visa applications received and granted in the preceding years.

As the number of metropolitan city positions become fewer, for some GPs it will be advantageous to start to consider some regional and rural areas of Australia. This does not mean working in the very remote areas of Australia. It is understood that areas which hold RRMA3 – RRMA7 will automatically be granted certificates. These areas include the far outlying areas of the large cities or smaller towns and cities.  Regional locations include wonderful areas offering a fabulous lifestyle and all the activities for the whole family you would need. We work with some practices in lovely coastal areas which give easy access to the beach, great schooling options for children and leisure activities.

Longer Term Considerations

It is worth remembering that the workforce shortage certificate only affects employer sponsored visas so the Permanent Skilled Visa (189) doesn’t require the certificate. This is a points based permanent visa so if your long-term goal is to stay in Australia, dependent on your eligibility, once this is granted you have this you will have many more options around locations of jobs.

Find out More about working in Regional Australia

Read out the benefits of working in Regional Australia for GPs

Find Out what life is like for a UK GP working in Regional Australia


GP Jobs Regional Australia

Here are a couple of examples of the areas you could consider:

GP Job – Geraldton

GP Job – Margaret River

GP Job – Darwin

GP Job – Wollongong area





Visas for GPs initiative Confirmed

We recently released some information around the potential changes around where GPs will be able to work in Australia. In our recent blog post we highlighted information received from the Department of Health in Australia which would require all practices seeking to engage an overseas trained GP to apply for a Certificate from the Rural workforce agency. This has now been confirmed and will affect all GPs applying for visas from today (11 March 2019) The full Visa for GPs factsheet can be found here. 

All employers nominating a particular role to be filled by an overseas trained GP will need to obtain a certificate from the Rural Workforce Agency proving a genuine need to fill the position by an overseas doctor. This will affect the Employer sponsored temporary (TSS 482) and permanent visas (Subclass 186)

The Visa for GPs initiative will be supported by a planning tool developed by the Department of Health to assess the suitability of an overseas trained GP being recruited for the particular role. The aim is to try to distribute overseas trained GPs to areas where they are most in need, particularly regional, rural and remote locations.

What does this mean for Overseas Trained GPs?

As the information has just been released today, over the coming week or two we will understand more about how this will affect UK trained GPs and where you can work. It must be emphasised that is not designed to stop UK GPs working in Australia so there will still be plenty of available positions to consider. It may however mean that it is harder to find a position within metropolitan areas and the State Capitals, eg Sydney, Melbourne, Perth etc.

Each application considered will be assessed on its own merit by the new Workforce Planning Tool which is unfortunately not publicly available information. This makes it more difficult for us to surmise which positions and practices will be directly affected. We anticipate however, that many of our current positions which are already in workforce shortage areas should still be available for UK GPs.

If you wish to discuss your circumstances directly please do get in touch with a member of our team.

Our Blog Post explaining the rule changes

GP Australian Visas explained



GP Medical Registration Australia

In light of the recent changes to the registration pathway in Australia we have highlighted a brief guide below to explain which documents you need to complete the GP registration process.

The medical registration and visa process to allow you to work in Australia takes approximately 6 -8 months to complete.  Transition Medical will manage for you once we have secured your dream GP job in Australia. It can seem like a never-ending process with many hurdles to jump through however we make this manageable by breaking down into clear, easy to follow steps.

What documents do I need for GP Registration in Australia?

You will need documents such as your passport, medical degree certificate and specialist certificates plus certificate of good standing and English language test results, if applicable.

The RACGP have also introduced strict new requirements for your Comparability application recently. We have summarised these as follows:

Self Reflective Activity – this is often known as a Practice Audit. The RACGP ask for evidence of completion of a practice audit within the last 3 years. If you have not completed one recently please get in touch with one of our team for advice.

ALS Course requirement – Every GP being assessed via the RACGP must have completed the ALS course within the last 4 years. Not every course is deemed suitable and we will advise on the most appropriate course to book.

Evidence of 50 hours of CPD – This must be completed within the last 12 months, we will advise on which documents need to be provided to show evidence of completing this.

As part of the service that Transition Medical provides to you, we will guide you – and assist wherever possible – through your medical registration and immigration paperwork. We are on hand from the start until you arrive in Australia ready to start your new dream role! If you have any questions regarding your personal circumstances and how we can help please do get in touch.

Applying for a Provider Number

Australia Tax System for GPs

Top 10 Tips for GPs moving to Australia

Read more about what our placed UK doctors think of our service





Possible Changes to where GPs can work in Australia

The Department of Health has this week announced it’s proposal of how it intends to reduce the number of overseas trained GPs known as the Visas for GPs initiative. This is driven by statistics which indicate that by 2030 there will be an oversupply of 7000 medical practitioners.

The initiative aims to reduce the reliance on overseas trained doctors by reducing the number of visa approvals by around 200 per year. The initiative has been badged as a way to redistribute the number of overseas doctors working in and around major cities into regional, rural and remote areas where there is a higher need for doctors and where practices more often struggle to fill vacancies.

The fact sheet recently released explains that to be able to sponsor a GP, the practice must obtain certification from a Rural Workforce Agency stating that there is a genuine need to fill a healthcare position at a given location. The proposals have been scheduled to begin on the 11th March this year however this is subject to the necessary approvals. This has however not been agreed by the Department of Immigration so it is highly unlikely this deadline will be met.

What next?

At this stage, we must stress that this is only at proposal stage and has not been approved by the Department of Immigration.

The proposed new requirement for employers coming into effect on the 11th March, we think to be highly unlikely. This has not been given approval by the Department of Health and we don’t suspect this will happen prior to next week. We are keeping abreast of this and will update as soon as we have any further news.

It is also yet to be seen how any Health Workforce Certification would work in practice and the fact this proposes that all such administration be directed through the agency based in Tasmania seems to add yet another level of red tape to an already complicated process.

Many of our city based practices find it difficult to recruit locally trained GPs and heavily rely on overseas trained doctors to fill their vacancies. This may leave many of our practices in metropolitan areas struggling to provide the care needed for their patients.

It does seem likely however that under the new Stronger Rural Health Strategy there will be a move in the near future to address the regional shortages of GPs. As a UK trained GP, it may mean that it will become harder to work close to one of the State Capitals.

If you are planning a move to Australia in the near future, we would advise getting in touch sooner rather than later to discuss your own circumstances. We currently have no shortage of practices looking for overseas trained GPs.

We are staying up to date with any developments with this proposal and will update you as soon as we have any further news. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team to discuss further.



What is life like for a GP in New Zealand. We speak to one of our UK GPs working in Auckland

We have recently had the pleasure of assisting a UK trained GP relocate to New Zealand. We talk to Dr Kate Gittins who has moved with her family to Auckland.

What made you decide to move to New Zealand?

We worked in New Zealand more than 20 years ago and had always wanted to return to work here. The opportunity arose for us to move when my husband was offered a job in Auckland. Our sons were in University and my daughter thought that it would be a great experience for her to study in another country so after a lot of family discussion we decided to move.

Tell us about a typical day in your GP role?

I now work in a large GP practice on the coast in South Eastern Auckland, my day starts at 08:30 and ends at 17:30, I see patients every 15 mins with regular breaks for tea and lunch, on average I see between 24-30 patients a day. There is no on call or visits and there is a large practice team of nurses, receptionists and administrators all available to help.

Best bit about your day?

The best bit of my day is getting home in the early evening less stressed with plenty of time for my family.

Most challenging part of your day?

I am still settling into life as a GP in New Zealand so the most challenging part of my day is learning the New Zealand way of managing patients, new pathways, which medications that are available here and ways of referring patients.

How have you and your family settled in and would you have any tips for other GPs relocating?

We have settled into life here very easily, the people are very friendly, easy going and helpful. My daughter’s school has been great and she made lots of good friends. I haven’t really got any tips about relocating, it is stressful but well worth it.

How have you found the transition from general practice in the UK to New Zealand?

General practice in New Zealand is very similar to general practice in the UK, the main difference is that here general practice is private so the patients pay to see their GP which can occasionally change the dynamic of the consultation but most of the time I just need to remember to give them the invoice! The other difference is that here the consultations are a minimum of 15 minutes which makes a big difference in terms of patient care and I feel less stressed.

Finally, how have you found Transition Medical in helping you make the move to NZ?

I found Transition Medical very helpful and made my move to New Zealand very easy and less stressful.


Further Reading

Your NZ Visa questions answered

NZ Schooling System

How are you supported into practice

What next?

If you are interested in relocating to New Zealand and would like to find out more please get in touch with one of our specialist GP recruitment team.