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Distribution Priority Area

The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification identifies locations in Australia with a shortage of medical practitioners. International medical graduates work in a DPA to be eligible for Medicare. Read about the DPA classification and learn how to find locations classified as DPA.

What is the Distribution Priority Area classification?

Distribution Priority Area (DPA) identifies areas where people don’t have enough access to doctors, based on the needs of the community.

How are DPA locations determined?

The DPA system takes into account gender and age demographics, and the socio-economic status of patients living in an area.

An area is automatically classified as DPA when it is: 

Other areas are classified as DPA when the level of health services for the population does not meet a service benchmark.

The average level of health services under MM 2 is the benchmark for international medical graduates.

An average level of health services accessed nationally is the benchmark for Bonded Medical Places.

This benchmark is compared to the needs of an area, taking into account gender and age demographics, and the socio-economic status of patients living in an area.

What is DPA used for?

International medical graduates who are GPs need to work in an area classified DPA to access Medicare under section 19AB of Australia's Health Insurance Act 1973.

Australian-trained bonded doctors with return-of-service obligations work in DPA locations to access the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Practices located in a DPA location can employ these doctors to increase the workforce and improve the community’s access to subsidised Medicare services.

How is DPA different to other classifications?

DPA shows the services of an area compared to a benchmark.

District of Workforce Shortage shows the number of non-GP specialists compared to the population of an area.

Modified Monash Model shows the remoteness of a location only.

How do I find locations classified DPA?

To see areas classified DPA, search the Health Workforce Locator.

Read more about the classification in the DPA fact sheet.

Last updated: 
5 July 2019

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