What is an expanded setting?
The Specialist Training Program (STP) defines expanded settings as settings outside of major metropolitan public hospitals.
Expanded settings include the following:
- Private hospitals, clinics or rooms.
- Rural, regional or remote hospitals in MMM2-7 areas.
- Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHS).
How much rural support loading (RSL) can the college provide their STP posts?
The college may provide up to $A25,000 (GST exclusive) per full time equivalent (FTE) per year. The college must ensure that funding is paid only to posts, pro rata per FTE, that are in MM2-7 areas and within its rural loading funding budget for each year as identified in the funding agreement. It’s at the college’s discretion to decide what is eligible to claim under RSL. Receipts, invoices and proofs of purchase must be retained by posts.
How much private infrastructure and clinical supervision (PICS) allowance can the college provide their STP posts?
The college may provide up to $A30,000 (GST exclusive) per FTE per year. The college must ensure that funding is paid only to posts, pro rata per FTE, that are in private settings and within its PICS budget for each year as identified in the funding agreement. It is at the college’s discretion to decide what is eligible to claim under PICS. Receipts, invoices and proofs of purchase must be retained by posts.
What is the definition of private for STP?
Under the STP, the definition of public and private relates to the ownership of the setting/s in which the STP training is occurring. The organisation that owns the setting where the STP training is occurring can’t be owned or operated by the government, either federal or state/territory government.
A private setting is defined at a facility level, not a publicly owned setting in which private patients are treated. Private isn’t related to the organisation in which the trainee is employed, but each organisation in which the STP training occurs. For example, STP pain medicine trainees who are employed by a public hospital and who spend 0.5 FTE training/delivering services in non-government pain management clinic would be considered private for that 0.5 FTE.
Private ownership can be demonstrated by organisations by some or all of the following:
- Organisation is registered under their ABN as a non-government organisation.
- The organisation is incorporated.
- In the case of organisations which are co-located with public hospitals, they must clearly demonstrate that they’re genuinely managed as a separate organisation from the hospital such as having their own governance, operational structures and/or being incorporated.
- An Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) are also considered a private entity.
How long does a trainee need to be in a place to get STP funding?
A minimum continuous period of three months (or three months pro rata where the trainee is less than 1 FTE) in expanded setting/s. That could be one setting or it could be a network.
Can a trainee still participate in the STP once they have achieved fellowship?
A trainee in an STP post may achieve fellowship during their placement. The position has met the requirement of the trainee being on the pathway to fellowship when entering the post. If the trainee continues to practice in the position after they receive fellowship, full payment should be provided for the semester/rotation.
Once they’ve received fellowship and the rotation has been completed, they’re no longer eligible under the STP. If they’ve received fellowship before the start of a given semester then they’re not eligible for STP funding as they’re no longer a trainee.
The advice is the same in the case of trainees who are on a dual fellowship pathway. When a dual fellowship trainee is in an STP post and achieves their second fellowship during their placement, the post has met the requirement of the trainee being on the pathway to fellowship when entering the post.
From 2021-2- to 2024-5, the Australian Government will re-invest $A29.5 million from the Specialist Training Program into a new innovative funding pool, flexible approaches to training in expanded settings (FATES), for non-GP medical specialist training. The ongoing funding pool will provide flexibility to support and promote growth in specialist medical training and deliver better distribution and supply of specialists matched to community health needs.
The pool will fund innovative activities such as:
- Small scale trials of networked training models.
- Expanded setting supervision and innovative supervision models to enhance training system quality and capacity.
- Support for junior specialists in training to transition to rural practice.
Separate grant rounds will be held each year with the allocated funding and anticipated opening dates for each grant round provided in the following table:
||Grant opportunity advertised
||Funding (ex GST)
||September 2022 (tbc)
Regional training hubs
In 2017 the federal government announced funding for 26 regional training hubs across Australia to facilitate the development of specialist training positions in regional areas. The southern hubs (Victoria, Tasmania and Albury-Wodonga) are working collaboratively towards shared goals for the region.
Regional training hubs are a component of the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline for Medicine (IRTP) implemented through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program at existing RHMT program training sites.
The RHMT program is a long-standing Australian Government initiative which funds the delivery of rural clinical training to medical, nursing, midwifery, and allied health students. It supports a network of rural clinical schools, university departments of rural health, and dental faculties supporting extended rural placements.
The regional training hub’s objectives are to:
- Improve coordination of medical training to enable students and junior doctors who want to practise rurally to complete as much of their medical training as possible within regional and rural areas.
- Identify medical students with an interest in practising rurally and support them in accessing networked rural training opportunities at an early stage in their careers.
- Develop regional training capacity by:
- Supporting current clinical training supervisors.
- Supporting local medical practitioners to become clinical supervisors.
- Assisting health services to obtain accreditation for new training positions.
- Strengthen existing, and develop new, connections with key stakeholders to improve the continuity of training for medical students/trainees within the hub region.
- Identify regional medical workforce needs and use this information to prioritise the hub’s activity.
Each college manages a reserve list of suitable posts that will be used to meet targets set in STP grant agreements. Reserve lists will be refreshed through a reserve list process conducted yearly in accordance with the reserve list guidelines.
In selecting posts to activate from the reserve list, colleges will need to consider prioritisation of posts to achieve targets for rural and private posts, as well as consider workforce need for specialties (if appropriate), and volume of practice requirements for trainees.
The reserve list process is the only mechanism through which new posts can be approved for funding under the STP.
If you have a query about the Specialist Training Program that isn't answered here, please email the STP team.