Stronger Rural Health – Recruitment and retention – Workforce Incentive Program

Page last updated: 08 May 2018

Stronger Rural Health – Recruitment and retention – Workforce Incentive Program (PDF 126 KB)

The Government will provide targeted financial incentives to encourage doctors to deliver services in rural and remote areas that have difficulty attracting and retaining doctors. This also provides financial incentives to support general practices to employ nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners and allied health professionals in multidisciplinary and team-based primary health care across Australia. Incentive payment levels for health professionals will be set using Modified Monash Model geographic classification.

Why is this important?

While there is an oversupply of doctors in some urban areas of Australia, there are shortages, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas. The Government recognises the importance of attracting not just doctors to rural areas but also nurses, allied health professionals and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, all of whom will play key roles in new multidisciplinary and team-based care models. These will be pivotal in better managing patients with complex and chronic conditions, particularly in rural and remote areas.

From 1 July 2019, the new Workforce Incentive Program will streamline existing GP, nursing and allied health incentive programs, replacing the General Practice Rural Incentive Program and the Practice Nurse Incentive Program. It builds on the achievements of these programs and better targets incentives to address workforce requirements in specific geographic areas, giving patients in rural and remote areas improved access to quality medical, nurse and allied health services.

Who will benefit?

The Workforce Incentive Program will particularly benefit regional, rural and remote communities, improving access to quality medical, nurse and allied health services.

Around 5,000 practices and more than 7,000 medical practitioners will be eligible for incentive payments under the Workforce Incentive Program. Funding will strengthen team-based and multidisciplinary primary care and support practices to employ allied health professionals, including non-dispensing pharmacists, in all locations.
  • Under the Practice Stream, eligible practices can receive incentive payments up to $125,000 a year. A rural loading will also be applied to practices located in MM3–7.
  • Under the Doctor Stream, eligible doctors located in MM3–7 can receive a maximum annual payment of up to $60,000.

How much will this cost?

The Stronger Rural Health Strategy is a $550 million investment to support improved rural health services.

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