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Who is your O&G doctor?

 

Women may be cared for by doctors at different stages of their training and careers in obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) in community and hospital settings throughout Australia and New Zealand. This page will help you understand these stages, and gives you an overview of who your doctor is.


Specialist or Consultant

Most specialist obstetrician-gynaecologists in Australia and New Zealand are Fellows of RANZCOG. A RANZCOG Fellow has completed the specialist training program or, if trained overseas, has been assessed by RANZCOG as being equivalent to a locally trained specialist. Doctors who hold this qualification are entitled to use the letters FRANZCOG after their name. 

Specialists typically work in a specialist private practice or as a consultant in a hospital; commonly both. A specialist holds the overall responsibility for care of each patient referred to them. Specialists may lead a team of trainee doctors and are responsible for their training, as well as managing the patients that the trainee doctors see. They also have managerial, educational and organisational roles and will usually have a special area of interest.


Subspecialists

A small number of doctors undertake subspecialist training after becoming a Fellow of RANZCOG. They are trained to work exclusively in one of the five areas below; the brackets show the letters your subspecialist doctor may have after their name, where C stands for certificate.

  • Gynaecological Oncology (CGO): the management of women with gynaecological cancer
  • Urogynaecology (CU): the management of problems associated with pelvic floor and bladder
  • Reproductive medicine (CREI): the management of reproductive problems and infertility (including IVF treatment)
  • Maternal and Fetal medicine (CMFM): the management of obstetrical, medical and surgical complications in pregnancy
  • Obstetrical & Gynaecological Ultrasound (COGU): providing a comprehensive O&G ultrasound diagnostic service

These doctors may work in private practice or hospitals where they provide these specialised services.

 

Trainees

Specialty trainees in O&G: Registrars

Doctors hoping to become specialists in O&G have an interest in pregnancy, childbirth and the reproductive health of women. They compete nationally for a training place and undergo a rigorous selection process. Specialty training in O&G takes at least six years to complete. During specialist training doctors are known as registrars and are a key part of the clinical team. They see patients in clinics and perform procedures under the supervision of senior doctors.

Although they are fully qualified in the general care of patients, they will refer to a more senior doctor for advice and assistance in the more complicated areas of O&G. They provide hands-on care to women in labour, see women with urgent gynaecology problems, and work in clinics or O&G operating theatres alongside senior specialists.

Prevocational training / Internship

Prevocational training refers to the first two years of training that medical graduates undertake after leaving university. These are commonly referred to as PGY1 and PGY2 (where PGY stands for "postgraduate year"). Medical graduates are required to complete this post graduate year of supervised practice, generally known as an internship. Internship is undertaken in training positions accredited for this purpose in hospitals, general practice and the community. Interns in Australia and New Zealand are required to complete compulsory rotations in emergency medicine, general medicine and general surgery, with the remaining internship time spent in rotations across a diverse range of medical disciplines.

Upon successful conclusion of the intern year, doctors qualify for full registration with the Medical Board of Australia or the Medical Council of New Zealand and are licensed to engage in independent medical practice. In general, most doctors spend two to three years practicing as a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) or Hospital Medical Officer (HMO) in a hospital before starting specialist training. Others may choose to continue practicing as an RMO/HMO for a longer period before deciding on the field in which they would like to specialise.

During this time as a Resident, doctors build on their clinical and professional skills but are closely supervised and always refer to a more senior colleague about their assessments and before making recommendations about patient care.


GP Obstetricians (Diplomates and Certificants)

Diplomates are medical practitioners who have completed additional training in Obstetrics and Women’s Health.
 
Advanced Diplomates have completed a minimum of 12 months training and assessment in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. They are usually general practitioners who provide obstetric services in rural and remote locations as well as providing general and emergency medical care to their community. They are competent to deal with most obstetric complications, can perform Caesarean Sections and procedural deliveries as well as minor gynaecological procedures.
 
Diplomates have completed a minimum of 6 months training and assessment. They are usually general practitioners who work in regional, rural or urban locations and provide obstetric care (antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal) in low risk women under supervision or with specialist or advanced Diplomate support nearby. Some Diplomates develop career pathways in other areas of women’s health such as family planning.
 
Certificants have completed 3 months of training and assessment to achieve a Certificate in Women’s Health (CWH). They are usually general practitioners working in various locations who are competent to provide shared antenatal and postnatal care, contraception advice and manage most office based women’s health concerns. Some Certificants move on to RANZCOG fellowship training.
 
Currently there are more than 2,500 Diplomates in Australia and New Zealand who perform a crucial role in maintaining the health and safety of women and their families. Rural and remote areas rely on Diplomates to provide safe obstetric care in their local maternity units.

 

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