AMA welcomes a more flexible approach to bonded medical places
Following representations from the AMA, Health Minister Sussan Ley has advised that the Health Department will be more flexible in applying return of service obligations on medical graduates enrolled in the Bonded Medical Places (BMP) program and the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme (MRBS). Under the new policy approach, Health Department officials will have greater scope to approve requests by participants to undertake work in a broader range of areas, provided they are otherwise meeting their return of service obligations.
AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said the policy shift was an important win for common sense.
Former AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, wrote to the Government last year highlighting that the rigid application of return of service obligations was having an unfair impact on participants who were trying to meet their obligations, particularly when they needed to undertake up-skilling and further training in a metropolitan area.
The AMA Council of Doctors in Training has been lobbying the Government to make changes to the Bonded Medical Place (BMP) scheme to encourage more BMP students and medical graduates to complete their return of service (ROS) in a regional or rural area. While there have been some prospective changes to the BMP scheme such that for 2016 onwards enrolees the ROS is one year, this does not extend to past participants. The AMA has called on the Government to make the change available to all BMP participants. Unfortunately the Government has so far declined to follow that path.