Frequently asked questions about the DRGA

Why was the diploma developed?

Rural Generalist (RG) practitioners with advanced training in anaesthesia play vital roles in providing life-saving services to patients in many rural and remote communities across Australia.  Our colleges are committed to providing RGs with appropriate training, assessment and continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to support them to provide safe and high quality care.

In 1994 ANZCA, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) established the Joint Consultative Committee on Anaesthesia (JCCA). Over the past 27 years the JCCA has provided hundreds of rural general practitioners with advanced training in anaesthesia and ensured that the care provided by GP anaesthetists is safe, meets contemporary high standards of clinical practice and is practical and responsive to the needs of rural practitioners and the communities they serve.

While there has been continuous improvement of the existing GP anaesthesia program, there has been a desire by the three colleges to reform the program to a more contemporary education model with a more formal recognition of the scope of training and assessment that is attained through the program. 

In 2015 the three colleges commenced discussions to develop a Diploma of Rural Generalist Anaesthesia (DRGA) which will replace the JCCA in 2023.

Who can undertake the Diploma for Rural Generalist Anaesthesia?

The Diploma of Rural Generalist Anaesthesia will primarily be available to Rural Generalist registrars seeking formal training and certification in anaesthesia who are enrolled in the fellowship of the ACRRM training program and/or the RACGP fellowship of advanced rural general practice training program.

The Diploma may also be applicable to those who have gained fellowship with ACRRM or fellowship of RACGP with an additional fellowship of advanced rural general practice and wish to gain an additional qualification in anaesthesia.

Where will I be able to undertake the diploma?

For 2023, it is intended that all current JCCA accredited training sites will be DipRGA-accredited training sites.

What are the prerequisites for applying for the diploma?

DRGA applications will be restricted to RG registrars enrolled in the ACRRM fellowship program or the RACGP fellowship of advanced rural practice program, or graduates of those programs that wish to attain additional qualifications in RG Anaesthesia in order to care for their rural communities. 

When will the Diploma for Rural Generalist Anaesthesia commence?

Enrolments will open in mid-2022 for a 2023 commencement.

Who sets the standards for the diploma?

ANZCA is responsible for the clinical standards in the diploma curriculum, while ACRRM and RACGP are responsible for standards and requirements for their respective rural generalist fellowship programs.

How is the diploma curriculum different from the JCCA curriculum?

The diploma is modelled on the ANZCA curriculum and consists of three core sections:

Rural generalist anaesthesia roles in practice.

This defines trainee behaviours as they pertain to anaesthesia and perioperative medicine:

  • Medical expert.
  • Communicator.
  • Collaborator.
  • Leader and manager.
  • Health advocate.
  • Scholar.
  • Professional.

Clinical fundamentals.

Define the fundamental specialty knowledge and skills of anaesthetists applicable across all areas of practice:

  • Airway management.
  • General anaesthesia and sedation.
  • Regional and local anaesthesia.
  • Perioperative medicine.
  • Pain medicine
  • Resuscitation, trauma and crises management.
  • Safety and quality in anaesthetic practice

Specialised study units.

Define specialised knowledge and skills in paediatrics and obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia.

Will the volume of practice requirements in the curriculum limit my ability to complete the diploma in one year?

No. There will be volume of practice (VOP) requirements for epidural analgesia and paediatric cases however these VOP requirements are similar to those in the current JCCA qualification and will be able to be completed in a one-year diploma.

What is the cost of the diploma?

The cost of the diploma is currently being determined. As with other GP training arrangements, registrars are likely to be required to pay all assessment-related fees. Other training, administration and support fees are currently being considered as part of ACRRM and RACGP negotiations for college-led GP training from 2023.

Is the diploma a one- or two-year course?

The diploma will include a requirement for 12 months of full time equivalent clinical placement time.

Will I have a reduced scope of anaesthesia practice under the diploma compared with the JCCA?

The scope of practice of the new diploma will be consistent with the scope of practice of the JCCA.

Will I only be able to practise as a GP anaesthetist in rural areas under the diploma?

The primary aim of the diploma is to provide Rural Generalists with the knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary for anaesthesia practice in rural communities so priority will be given to training in regional and rural contexts wherever possible. Like JCCA training and certification, there will be no geographic restrictions on either the training posts or subsequent practise locations for rural generalist anaesthetists.   

I currently hold a JCCA qualification. Will I still be able to practice as a GP anaesthetists after 2022?

Yes. The overall aim of the new diploma is to enhance the quality and range of anaesthesia services available to rural communities. JCCA training and certification will continue to be recognised after the introduction of the DRGA and existing RGAs will be allowed to practice with in-scope anaesthesia procedures subject to their usual local clinical privileging arrangements.

I currently hold a JCCA qualification. Will I be granted any recognition of prior learning if I decide to transition to the diploma?

It is anticipated that there will be an application process for current holders of a JCCA qualification to apply for recognition of prior learning and transition their JCCA qualification to the DRGA

While details and timing for transition to the DRGA is subject to confirmation, it is intended that recognition of prior learning will be granted to specialists who:

  • Hold a JCCA qualification.
  • Can demonstrate currency with respect to ongoing anaesthesia practice.
  • Can demonstrate currency of anaesthesia CPD requirements.

What CPD will I need to complete under the diploma? Will there be volume of practice requirements for CPD?

The Medical Board of Australia have produced a new CPD standard which is scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2023. These changes are significant and will mean that specialists and other medical practitioners will be able to choose a “CPD home” relevant to their scope of practice.

The specific CPD standards and requirements for the DRGA are still being developed. It is expected these standards will form an essential part of the CPD requirements for maintaining rural generalist anaesthesia scope of practice. It is anticipated that DRGA holders will choose their CPD Home. 

Our hospital currently has JCCA accreditation. Will we need to secure accreditation before 1 January 2023?

It is anticipated that conditional accreditation will be provided to current JCCA accredited sites with accreditation activities planned for 2023-24.

What support will supervisors receive during the transition from the JCCA to the diploma?

Training courses and/or webinars will be developed to explain the new requirements for diploma supervisors.

What happens if I haven’t finished my JCCA training by January 2023?

The DRGA Tripartite Committee will work with the JCCA committee to determine the transition arrangements for current trainees who have not completed their JCCA by January 2023.

Who will be responsible for coordinating my training placements and support during training?

ANZCA will work with accredited training sites to co-ordinate training placements. DRGA supervisors of training will provide mentoring and support of trainees in the workplace.

What will happen to my previous JCCA training information and records if I haven’t finished my fellowship training by 2023?

Trainees that haven’t completed their JCCA training will be managed on a case-by-case basis during the transition period

 

If you have a query about the new Diploma for Rural Generalist Anaesthesia that is not answered here, please email drga@anzca.edu.au. This page will be regularly updated based on the queries we receive.



 
Last updated 09:46 29.09.2021