An important message from RANZCOG, RACGP, ACRRM and RDAA
Find out more about the recent communications about changes to the RANZCOG Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs
We are writing to you about the recent communications about changes to the RANZCOG Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs. We understand that the initial notification came as a surprise to some members, with concern about lack of clarity about why the change was necessary. We would like to acknowledge and apologise for any distress this has caused.
RANZCOG, RACGP, ACRRM and RDAA have been collaborating to determine the best way to communicate on this matter with our valued GP members and trainees, and we hope that a shared statement is an appropriate starting point.
In 2022, the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) first raised concerns that a number of non-GP Specialist Medical Colleges were offering Diploma courses without being registered as a provider under TEQSA, as is required under the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Act 2011. The terms “Diploma” and “Advanced Diploma” form part of the Australian Qualifications Framework and are protected under that Act. Medical Colleges, including RANZCOG, RACGP and ACRRM were invited to discussions around this matter. We have engaged in ongoing discussions with the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHA) and TEQSA over a two-year period, but unfortunately medical Colleges were not permitted to prospectively to use the diploma nomenclature.
The final decision on this matter was made by TEQSA in an extremely short timeframe, and we were directed to change our program nomenclature to comply with restrictions imposed by the TEQSA Act. We strongly advocated for a change in legislation as the most meaningful way to mitigate this issue, but this was rejected by DoHA and TEQSA. Other options involved significant ongoing costs and multiple accreditation and reaccreditation processes, the costs of which would have had to be passed on to our members. We believed that this would be an unfair imposition, particularly to accredit programs that have an existing and a strong reputation.
The Colleges were originally provided a deadline of December 2023 to implement changes. Upon requests from multiple Colleges, TEQSA provided a final extension to push the deadline to February 2024. Non-compliant Colleges will face significant financial penalties. We would like to reiterate that we were faced with very limited choice in progressing with this decision.
RANZCOG undertook a consultation process which presented alternative nomenclature options to diplomate members and trainees. 427 responses were received, with the majority selecting the following option:
|Member category name
|Certificate in Women’s Health
|RANZCOG Associate Training Program
|RANZCOG Associate Training Program
Impact and risk mitigation
We recognise and acknowledge the importance of GP Obstetricians in providing timely and effective care for women and their babies. We also understand the critical role GP Obstetricians, especially Rural Generalists, play in maintaining a regional, rural, and remote workforce, and in ensuring the quality and safety of care. We are pleased to note the progress around specialist recognition for Rural Generalist Medicine and await assessment outcomes from the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Board of Australia (MBA). As member-based organisations, our priority remains to ensure that members receive the highest level of education, training, professional development, and support.
If you are an existing Diplomate or Advanced Diplomate member, your postnominals and qualifications will not be impacted, and you will be able to continue using your postnominals, qualifications and logos. If you are a current or prospective trainee, we want to reassure you that the change in nomenclature does not impact the quality of education and training you receive, or the integrity of your qualifications once you complete the program.
The curriculum and assessment standards remain the same, and our objective continues to be the development of competent and skilled healthcare professionals who are able to provide effective and timely care. The changes do not in any way impact the services and support you currently receive from RANZCOG, RACGP, ACRRM or RDAA.
We will be united in our ongoing communications with the government, DoHA, hospitals and other stakeholders, to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on credentialling, employment, or medico-legal support for our members. As the key organisations involved, we will continue to work in partnership with one another to ensure the ongoing integrity and quality of these programs.
RANZCOG will present the proposed nomenclature change at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 12 February in order to meet the TEQSA-mandated deadline. You will receive further communication from RANZCOG that outlines in detail the process undertaken, as well as the next steps relating to these changes. A webinar will be held 19 February following the EGM to provide an update on progress, and to answer any queries you may have. A separate email in the coming weeks, will provide an invitation and registration link. We encourage you to attend the webinar and to share this information with your colleagues.
Once again, we apologise for the concern the nomenclature change process has caused, and we hope the context and circumstances under which we have had to undertake this change has provided a better understanding of the issue. Please reach out to us at any time if you wish to discuss this further. We will continue to communicate with you as we progress through the various phases of this change.
Dr Gillian Gibson
Dr Nicole Higgins
Dr Dan Halliday
Dr RT Lewandowski III