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Workforce Support

The Nepean Blue Mountains PHN Workforce Program aims to develop a sustainable and skilled primary health care workforce via the dual provision of workforce and practice support.

Workforce Services

The services offered by the Workforce Program include

Workforce Information

SAPP for Non-VR GPs

The Department of Health introduced the Special Approved Placement Program (SAPP) in November 2003 for granting interim access to Medicare Benefits Schedule under the provisions of s3GA of the Health Insurance Act 1973. SAPP provides doctors who are facing exceptional situations with an opportunity to progress their general practice career.

Changes to SAPP announced this year mean that doctors who do not qualify as having exceptional circumstances may also be considered. Doctors have been accepted that:

  • Demonstrate their lack of either general practice experience or a general level of medical registration with the Medical Board of Australia prevents their immediate participation on the more structured general practice programs;
  • Have been removed from a full-time general practice program prior to fully completing assessments for either the FRACGP or FACRRM qualification and who require more time working in general practice while they re-take assessments;
  • Require time-limited access to the MBS so that they can be deployed to assist a state or territory government response to a pandemic or declared emergency; or
  • Require time-limited access to the MBS so that they can assist the response to a regional disaster.

If you are a non VR doctor and affected by section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act, you can be eligible for SAPP.

More information: Department of Health


The Australian Federal Government - Department of Health (DoH) has developed DoctorConnect, a site that contains important information for doctors interested in working in Australia.

DoctorConnect is intended to assist international medical graduates (IMGs), employers, and recruitment agencies to efficiently negotiate a path through the various immigration, job search, registration, assessment, recognition, and approval processes relating to entry into Australia, and into avenues of employment in the Australian medical workforce.

More information: DoctorConnect

Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973

Section 19AB of the Act restricts access to Medicare benefits and requires overseas trained doctors (OTDs) and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools (FGAMS) to work in Distribution Priority Area (DPA) [previously known as a District of Workforce Shortage] for 10 years from their first Australian medical registration. This is commonly referred to as ‘the 10 year moratorium’.

More information: Department of Health

Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973

This section of the Act applies to all doctors who were first recognised as a medical practitioner in Australia after 1st November 1996 and are not vocationally registered GPs or Fellows of the RACGP. All doctors affected by Section 19AA of the Act need to be enrolled in a program approved under Section 3GA of the Act in order to attract Medicare benefits.

More information: Department of Health

Distribution Priority Area (DPA)

From 1 July 2019, a new health workforce Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification system replaced the Districts of Workforce Shortage Assessment Areas for GPs and Bonded Doctors. This has implications for the majority of general practices in the Nepean Blue Mountains area. Most general practices that were previously classified as being in a District of Workforce Shortage, are not classified as Distribution Priority Areas. Only a few suburbs, such as Blackheath, Portland and Wallerawang are considered Distribution Priority Areas.

More information: Department of Health

Area of Need (AoN)

Area of Need is determined by the NSW Department of Health. It assists employers who are experiencing difficulty recruiting medical practitioners with specialist registration. It allows the recruitment of suitably qualified IMGs to vacant positions approved as an AoN. An AoN only applies to the particular position for which it was granted: it does not apply to a specific geographic area.

More information: NSW Department of Health


For further information, please call our Workforce Support Team on 02 4708 8100 or contact us online.