About the scheme

The Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme has closed to new applicants. It accepted participants between 2001 and 2014.

This scheme provided participants with a scholarship and a Commonwealth Supported Place at a medical school in an Australian university.

In exchange, once they had graduated, participants agreed to work for a specified period in a rural or remote area. This is called a ‘return of service obligation’ (RoSO).

For the full details about the scheme, read your contract and the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme student information booklet.

Why it is important

The scheme aims to increase the number of qualified doctors working in regional, rural and remote areas.

This ensures that Australia’s medical workforce is well distributed, flexible and targeted to areas of most need.

Participant obligations

As a participant in the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme, you must meet certain requirements.

This includes:

  • completing your RoSO in an approved regional, rural or remote area in line with your contract
  • keeping your details up to date.

Some participants can reduce their RoSO period through scaling.

You can apply to defer your RoSO in some circumstances.

Eligible locations

Where you can complete your RoSO depends on when you joined the scheme. Classifications of eligible locations are specified in your individual contract.

You must not provide a professional service outside an eligible location from the date you obtain your fellowship.

Enter your work’s full address into the Health Workforce Locator (with the relevant layer on) to check whether it is an eligible location.

Opting in to the Bonded Medical Program

As a participant in the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme, you can opt in to the Bonded Medical Program if you have completed your medical degree.

We recommend you seek legal advice before making a decision.

If you opt in, you must:

  • complete a 3-year RoSO within 18 years from the day you complete your medical degree – any RoSO you already completed will be carried over
  • meet the program’s reporting requirements.

You will have access to:

  • a more flexible way to complete your RoSO
  • simpler administrative processes through the Bonded Return of Service System (BRoSS), which enables you to self-manage your RoSO
  • support from Rural Workforce Agencies
  • ability to work in areas not eligible for RoSO without having to seek permission
  • clear and consistent management of withdrawals.

Opting in is voluntary. If you decide not to opt in, you will remain in the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme on your existing contract.

Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme participants considering opting in to the Bonded Medical Program should read the obligations fact sheet and information booklet for legacy scheme participants. You can also watch our webinar

How to opt in

If, once you have considered your obligations, you would like to opt in to the Bonded Medical Program, email us using our template.

We are currently working with affected individuals to address the issues that arose during implementation of the program in 2020. In parallel, we are working through a large number of requests to opt in. As each one requires a thorough review, this is taking some time and there are delays in processing new opt-in requests. Read about our progress in addressing implementation issues.

Resources

See all the resources related to the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme. 

Contact

Contact us about the Bonded Medical Program, Bonded Medical Places Scheme, Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme and the Bonded Return of Service System portal. To help us quickly categorise and address your request, include in the subject line: ‘[Scheme/program name] – [your name] – [request]’.

BondedMedicalProgram [at] health.gov.au