Initiatives and programs

We're working on a range of policy initiatives, programs and campaigns to help improve your health and the health of all Australians.

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  • The Approved Medical Deputising Services (AMDS) program enables non-vocationally recognised doctors to access Medicare benefits for providing after-hours services on behalf of other doctors. This helps them get general practice experience, while ensuring people can access health care after hours.

  • Through the APED Program, advanced specialist trainees doing their emergency medicine training can work under supervision in a private hospital for 12 months and access relevant Medicare items. This helps increase the number of emergency medicine specialists in Australia.

  • We contribute funding to these scholarships, which support medical students to complete a year at a Rural Clinical School. The aim is to encourage students to practice medicine in rural Australia.

  • We contribute funding for these scholarships, which support nursing students to complete their major clinical placement and graduating year in a rural or remote area. The aim is to encourage students to pursue a nursing career in rural Australia.

  • The Bonded Medical Places Scheme has closed to new applicants. Existing participants can either continue with this scheme or opt in to the more flexible Bonded Medical Program.

  • The Bonded Medical Program helps address the shortage of medical professionals in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. It provides a Commonwealth Supported Place in a medical course in exchange for participants working in those areas after they graduate.

  • The Five Year Overseas Trained Doctors Scheme improves access to doctors in rural and remote areas. It increases the supply of doctors to work in these areas where their services are needed the most.

  • The Flexible Approach to Training in Expanded Settings (FATES) funds new non-general practitioner specialist medical training approaches. FATES aims to broaden the skills of the specialist workforce, bring more specialists to regional areas, and ensure all Australians can access high-quality care.

  • The General Practitioner Procedural Training Support Program (GPPTSP) aims to improve maternity services for women living in rural and remote areas. It supports general practitioners (GPs) in those areas to gain procedural skills in anaesthetics and obstetrics.

  • This program provides scholarships and bursaries to existing health professionals committed to rural service. It supports the cost of completing postgraduate and short courses, attending accredited industry conferences, or completing vocational education and training courses.

  • This initiative reduces outstanding Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt for eligible doctors and nurse practitioners who live and work in rural, remote or very remote areas of Australia.

  • As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government announced the new John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Program. This program will better streamline and coordinate medical training in regions and fund new rural primary care rotations to boost training capacity for the next generation of doctors.

  • The JDTP supports education and supervision for junior doctors in rural primary health care settings and private hospitals. This helps provide a continued supply of doctors to deliver health services across Australia. It is part of our Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

  • The Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme has closed to new applicants. Existing participants can either continue with this scheme or opt in to the more flexible Bonded Medical Program.

  • This program is for doctors who are temporary or permanent residents of Australia and not vocationally recognised. Doctors on this program get support and training towards joining a college fellowship program to become vocationally recognised.

  • The Murray–Darling Medical Schools Network establishes 5 rurally based university medical school programs in New South Wales and Victoria. Medical students can stay rural while they study medicine. This is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy initiative.

  • The National Medical Workforce Strategy (2021–2031) has been developed to guide long-term medical workforce planning across Australia. This 10-year strategy will improve access to health care by supporting the right people to have the right skills, where we need them most.

  • The Non-VR FSP supports doctors to gain their fellowship. This increases access to high-quality primary health care and enables doctors to register as specialist general practitioner and access higher Medicare rebates.

  • The Other Medical Practitioner (OMPs) programs provide access to higher Medicare rebates for doctors without fellowship who deliver services in approved locations and meet eligibility requirements.

  • PRIMM funds solutions that address specific primary healthcare service issues within local rural communities and regions. It encourages multiple towns to work together and share primary healthcare services.

  • Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are independent organisations working to streamline health services – particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes – and to better coordinate care so people receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

  • SDAP provides free professional support to aged care service providers located in remote areas or who provide care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It aims to help providers in 3 main areas – provider capacity and support, sector development and infrastructure project management.

  • The Remote Vocational Training Scheme delivers structured distance education and supervision to doctors while they provide general medical services in a remote or isolated community. The 4-year program meets the requirements for fellowship of both ACRRM and RACGP.

  • We have funded the Royal Flying Doctor Service program since the 1930s. It provides emergency aeromedical evacuation services, medical consultations and supplies, and dental and mental health outreach services to rural and remote Australia. This program is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

  • The Rural Bulk Billing Incentives will pay higher benefits to regional, rural and remote doctors to bulk bill children and people with a concession card. This makes it more viable for doctors to work in those areas and makes health care more affordable.

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