Rural GP recruitment boosted with new District of Workforce Shortage maps

5 Feb 2015

The Government this week released new maps to more accurately identify communities where doctor shortages exist in rural, regional and remote communities so that recruitment of new doctors can be better targeted. 

The AMA and other rural doctor groups have been calling for a revision of the DWS system for some time, highlighting that it was based on outdated data that did not give a true picture of medical workforce shortages in rural areas and as a consequence many communities with acute doctor shortages were not able to recruit GPs. 

The new map system, developed in consultation with doctors and regional communities, has been updated with the latest population and Medicare data. Previously, 2004 data had been used. Communities where doctor numbers have not kept pace with population growth will now be recognised in the updated DWS system.

Overseas trained and bonded doctors (under the Bonded Medical Places Scheme) already working in a DWS location will not be required to move if that location becomes non-DWS under the new system. There will also be greater certainty for rural, regional and remote communities, with DWS determinations now occurring annually rather than y.

Information about the updates to the DWS system can be found on the DoctorConnect website.