AMA Secures No Disadvantage Guarantees For All Affected Opt In Participants

23 Jun 2021

The AMA can now confirm that all doctors who fall within one of the below cohorts are assured no-disadvantage because of the issues that arose during the early implementation of the statutory Bonded Medical Program (the Program) in 2020:

  • those who thought they were opted in, had completed their obligations and had exited the Program;
  • those who thought they had opted in and still need to complete their RoSO; and now also
  • those who had expressed their interest to opt in via email and were awaiting a response.

The AMA is confident that our advocacy has been heard and acted on by the Department of Health about what is required to fix affected cohorts, improve transparency, and improve dialogue and responsiveness with affected participants.

On 22 June 2021, after many instances of the AMA making representation on behalf of those that had applied, but are still waiting to be opted in officially, the Department has guaranteed no disadvantage for them by agreeing to deem the date those who had applied to opt in as being the date of having opted-in (subject to a participant having acted in good faith).  On 6 April 2021, we reported on the AMA’s success in eliciting Minister for Health’s assurance of no disadvantage for the other two cohorts noted above.

The AMA has been consistent in keeping pressure on the Department via fortnightly meetings with the Department of Health and other high level representations.  Since mid-2020, the AMA has lobbied to address the myriad of problematic issues that have hampered the programs’ reputation including, participant’s practical inability to comply with their obligations and the detrimental affected on their mental wellbeing.  We are now seeing improved outcomes.

A main remaining issue for the AMA is to make sure the Department gets on top of the very lengthy delays in responding to queries and resolving individual cases.  While the AMA continues to ask for action time frames to be established, we are privy to in-confidence data showing how cases are being progressed and what method is being applied to decision making.  For each case, the decision process is resource intensive and time consuming but the AMA has confidence that there are new systems in place to accurately work for individual fixes.

Do you need a deferral or simultaneous work approval?

MRBS participants who need approvals for RoSO are asked, as soon as possible, to email BondedMedicalProgram@health.gov.au with the subject line containing the following verbatim text: MRBS Scheme - [Dr insert your name] – Request for Deferral/Simultaneous Work Approval. 

Doing this will speed up the Department’s responsiveness.  Because of the AMA’s advice, the Department has promised to treat MRBS participants as a priority.  BMP participants who want to advise on a proposed change to work activity should also act according to the email advice above.

In addition to providing the details of your proposed work activities, you should also nominate the period you seek approval for.

Read the full Department of Health June Update here

Read previous AMA Updates

20 May 2021: Update on BMP opt in progress

6 April 2021: Minister confirms no disadvantage for BP participants

26 March 2021: Bonded Medical Program Important Update

Members are welcome to provide feedback or request support at workforce@ama.com.au