Medical Training Review Panel: Seventeenth Report

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

Page last updated: 09 April 2014

Training Program

Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine – FFPMANZCA is a post fellowship qualification. Those wishing to obtain this qualification are required to hold, or be training toward, a specialist qualification acceptable to the board (initially anaesthesia, medicine, surgery, psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine and more recently general practice, obstetrics and gynaecology and occupational medicine). The ANZCA-FPM training requirements vary from one to three years, depending on the primary specialist qualification and 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 five participating bodies, including ANZCA, RACS, RACP, RANZCP and AFRM-RACP as well as RACGP, RACRRM, RANZCOG and AChPM-RACP.

A new curriculum, to be introduced in 2015, stipulates two years of supervised training in pain medicine for all candidates for Fellowship.

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 (FTE). 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: socio-biology 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 (ITAs) require the trainee and the supervisor of training to carry out 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 a 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

In 2013, the Faculty Board approved the Regulation for the recognition as a specialist in pain medicine for overseas trained specialists and admission to Fellowship by assessment for overseas trained specialists. The FPM overseas trained specialists assessment process commences with application via the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and proceeds to a paper-based assessment to establish qualifications, training, clinical experience, recency of practice, health systems worked in, and participation in continuing professional development (CPD).

If eligible to proceed, the assessment then includes:

  • a face-to-face assessment interview;
  • a clinical practice assessment period; and
  • either a workplace-based assessment or the examination.


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

Faculty of Pain Medicine