Medical Training Review Panel: fourteenth report

Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists — Faculty of Pain Medicine

Page last updated: 11 March 2011

Training Program

The fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine – ANZCA (ANZCA-FPM) is an ‘add-on’ specialist diploma. Those wishing to enter the field usually will either have, or be training toward, a specialist qualification in one of the participating specialties – anaesthesia, medicine, surgery, psychiatry or rehabilitation medicine.

The ANZCA-FPM training requirements vary from one to three years, depending on the primary specialist qualification, previous experience and exposure to pain medicine. Training may commence during, and may be concurrent with, training programs for the diploma of fellowship of the participating bodies, including ANZCA, RACS, RACP, RANZCP and AFRM-RACP.

Trainees must undertake a prospectively approved structured training period of one or two years in a Faculty accredited pain medicine program. One further year of additional approved experience of direct relevance to pain medicine is required. There is some provision for retrospective approval by the Assessor of prior experience and training.

The training program provides for part-time training. The minimum trainee commitment must be 0.5 full-time equivalent. There is provision for interrupted training.

It is a requirement of the training program that all trainees receive training and experience in the broad areas of acute, chronic and cancer pain. Trainees are provided with a trainee support kit that includes the objectives of training and focused resources. The objectives of training set out in detail the aims of education and training. The objectives divide into four main sections: sociobiology of pain and neurobiology of pain as ‘basic’ knowledge; principles of pain medicine and practice of pain medicine as ‘clinical’ knowledge.

Trainee Selection

Employers place advertisements for positions in pain medicine training units accredited by the FPM. Interview, selection and appointment processes are determined by the employing jurisdictions, with representation from the FPM.

Trainee Assessment

Formative assessment includes the logbook that documents workload and experience recorded over a period of six months. This acts as a tool for supervisors of training to direct trainees to rectify any gaps in exposure to the required areas. Quarterly In-Training Assessments (ITA) requires the trainee and the supervisor of training to carry out a regular evaluation, with a recording of goals being met and areas identified for improvement. Summative assessment includes the final ITA, a case report and an examination.

The Faculty examination format comprises a written paper, an observed clinical long case, short cases and a viva voce. Candidates must achieve a mark of at least 50%. Trainees may present for the annual examination during or after the mandatory structured training period in a Faculty accredited unit.

Admission to fellowship is available to candidates who are fellows of ANZCA, RACP, RACS, RANZCP, AFRM – RACP, RACGP, RNZCGP, RANZCOG, or who hold an Australian or New Zealand specialist qualification acceptable to the Board, and who have successfully completed the training period prescribed by the Assessor, passed the examination and completed all other training requirements.

International Medical Graduate Specialists

Assessment of International Medical Graduate Specialists (IMGs) and Area of Need specialists is undertaken according to ANZCA policy. However there is no entirely equivalent training in multidisciplinary pain medicine, as no other country has a governing body in pain medicine representing the five specialties in the ANZCA-FPM.

Associate Fellowship of the FPM is available to candidates who are recognised in their country of practice as medical specialists in anaesthesia, medicine, surgery, psychiatry or rehabilitation medicine or who hold a specialist qualification in their country of practice acceptable to the FPM Board and who have successfully completed the training period prescribed by the assessor, passed the examination and completed all other training requirements.

An Associate Fellow may be admitted to Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine upon conferral of fellowship of a Medical College in Australia or New Zealand acceptable to the Board.


The Faculty accredits multidisciplinary pain medicine units that include practitioners from at least three relevant medical specialties and from relevant allied health professions. Comprehensive policies and criteria have been developed by the Faculty requiring a specified standard for facilities and adequate supervision by pain medicine specialists. Units seeking accreditation are required to complete a detailed questionnaire and undergo an accreditation visit. During the accreditation process, significant weighting is given to the feedback provided during structured interviews with the trainees who are based at the unit.

Further Information