AMA welcomes more flexible approach to bonded medical placements

6 Oct 2016

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).

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 Rural Doctors has previously identified the importance of rural doctors being able to access opportunities to up-skill in metropolitan centres from time to time. The Council said such opportunities were vital to support sustainable, high quality, medical care and enable practitioners to share skills and knowledge with their rural colleagues, including doctors in training.

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.

Full media release