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New Health Workforce Distribution Priority Area Classification

03 July 2019

On 1 July, the new health workforce Distribution Priority Areas classification system replaced the Districts of Workforce Shortage Assessment Areas for GPs and Bonded Doctors. This change has implications for the majority of practices in our region.

Most practices that were previously classified as being in a District of Workforce Shortage, are now not classified as Distribution Priority Areas. The only suburbs in our region now considered Distribution Priority Areas are Blackheath, Portland and Wallerawang.

This new system is intended to better facilitate placing medical practitioners in communities of greatest need across Australia. It takes into account demographics (gender/age) and socio-economic status of patients living in a GP catchment area.

An area is automatically classified as a DPA when it is classified as MMM 5 to 7. Other areas are classified as DPA when the level of health services for the population does not meet a service benchmark. An area that has been classified as a DPA for GPs, has been assessed as not receiving adequate GP services for the needs of that population. International Medical Graduates who specialise in General Practice are required to work in a DPA in order to obtain a Medicare Provider Number.

The Department of Health has advised that they will still consider applications where employment negotiations commenced while a practice was located within a DWS. Documentary evidence must be supplied and may include signed and dated employment contracts or forms, or dated emails discussing the employment arrangements.

If you would like to discuss how this change could affect GP recruitment in your practice, contact Rakesh Patel, Workforce Program Officer on 4708 8194 or online.