Specialist Training Program

The Specialist Training Program (STP) is an Australian government initiative that aims to extend vocational training for specialist registrars into settings outside traditional metropolitan teaching hospitals, including regional, rural and remote and private facilities.

Among other things, the program supports 900 training posts through specialist medical colleges like ANZCA. ANZCA has been funded to manage the program and the associated contracts for training posts in anaesthesia and pain medicine. The programs key objectives are to:

  • Increase the capacity of the health workforce to train specialists by providing training that matches demand and reflects the way health services are delivered.
  • Develop an integrated series of accredited networked specialist-training arrangements focused on healthcare, through which trainees may rotate in the pursuit of specialist qualification.
  • Incorporate trainees into networks that are based on health service delivery requirements of a region with the education potential of training sites matched to the health service delivery inherent in increased availability of a specialist trainee workforce.

We spoke to anaesthetists and trainees in Tasmania about living and working in the area, and the opportunities the Specialist Training Program has brought to Tassie.

STP is an effective policy initiative to expand specialist training positions in non-traditional settings.

By providing additional specialist training positions:

  • Trainees complete rotations without being delayed by insufficient training opportunities.
  • Trainees are given training opportunities not available in traditional public hospital settings, while fulfilling training requirements for fellowship.
  • Trainees gain experience and orientation to private work and rural practice.
  • The community has increased access to specialist services.
  • There is significant value to hospitals through an increased focus on teaching which is often associated with the provision of higher standards of care.

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Funding entitlements

Australian hospitals may be entitled to access one or more of the following funding streams.

Salary support

STP provides an annual trainee salary contribution.

Rural support loading

Rural support loading (RSL) funding is 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 two to five.

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

Private infrastructure and clinical supervision

Private infrastructure and clinical supervision (PICS) allowance is available to provide funding for activities associated with clinical supervision and infrastructure for private sector training posts. Eligible posts will be contacted in writing by the Department of Health.

For information on how PICS funding can be spent and what the payment process is, view the college's PICS guidelines from the forms section below.

Forms and guidelines

Find all the forms and guidelines you need here, including consent forms and progress reports. 

Operational framework

The Operational Framework applies to the entire STP, which includes two other initiatives: 

Integrated Rural Training Pipeline

The Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) is a subset of the STP, and will provide 100 positions from 2017 onwards, across all medical colleges. ANZCA has funding to support up to eight full-time equivalent positions under the IRTP. 

Twenty-six regional training hubs have been established under the IRTP to work with local health services, to help stream students through the medical training pipeline.

A regional training hub is a team of people at an established Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program location, dedicated to integrating medical training opportunities for medical students, junior doctors and specialist trainees within their catchment area.

Each IRTP post is designed to support one trainee over several years. It is expected that once the new agreements have been established for 2021 and beyond, that the trainees now in these positions will continue until they have completed their training. 

You can find relevant IRTP forms below:

Training More Specialist Doctors in Tasmania

The Training More Specialist Doctors in Tasmania project, known as TMSDT or the Tasmanian Project, is the second element of the Tasmanian Health Assistance Package, which is designed to ease immediate pressures across the Tasmanian health system and to fund clinical innovation and system improvement.

The TMSDT project aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Engagement of new specialist clinical supervisors to facilitate an expansion of clinical training capacity at the undergraduate, prevocational and postgraduate levels.
  • Dedicated STP training posts in Tasmania to provide vocational training opportunities for local medical graduates and to attract graduates from interstate.
  • Employment of training co-ordination staff to assist with administrative arrangements in the delivery of training and ensure the effective integration between trainees, educators and health services.
  • The creation of professional development initiatives targeted towards enhancing the recruitment and retention of medical specialists.
  • The development of "generalist" specialist training pathways, addressing the need to shift the focus of specialist workforce development away from perceived over sub-specialisation, particularly to meet the needs of rural communities.

ANZCA has funding to manage STP-funded training positions nationally in anaesthesia and pain medicine. ANZCA has been funded to manage the Specialist Training Program and the associated contracts for training posts in anaesthesia and pain medicine.

Further information

You can find general information about STP on the Australian Government's Department of Health website. If you have a specific question, please contact the college STP team.

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Frequently asked questions about STP

We answered some common questions about the Specialist Training Program.

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Last updated 09:44 16.05.2024