Coverage - doctors

This page answers questions on the operation of ROCS from the viewpoint of doctors.

Page last updated: 04 April 2018

  1. Who is eligible for ROCS?
  2. If I leave the private medical workforce, will I be immediately eligible for ROCS?
  3. If I leave the medical workforce for other reasons than those which grant immediate ROCS eligibility, will I have to "run bare" for three years?
  4. What if I am retired (and not yet eligible for ROCS) and have not bought run-off cover from my last insurer?
  5. Will I be eligible for ROCS if I was already in one of the eligibility groups of doctors before 1 July 2004?
  6. If I have never had medical indemnity cover, will I be covered by ROCS?
  7. Am I still eligible for ROCS if I provide services at no cost?
  8. If I am eligible for ROCS and then I move from the private sector to the public sector, will I be able to access the ROCS for my private work?

1. Who is eligible for ROCS?

The ROCS covers doctors who cease remunerated private practice, and the legal representatives of deceased former medical practitioners.

2. If I leave the private medical workforce, will I be immediately eligible for ROCS?

In most cases, the ROCS eligibility is immediate. You will be covered immediately if you are a private medical practitioners and leave the workforce:
  • after age 65;
  • because of permanent disability;
  • on maternity leave;
  • when leaving the country after working as a doctor under visa subclasses 422 (medical practitioner), 457 (business (long stay), or from 18 March 2018, a temporary visa;
    • the visa must have permitted the holder to work in Australia and not prohibit the holder from engaging in medical practice in Australia;
  • or upon death. (When a private medical practitioner dies, the ROCS will also cover claims against the doctor from that time).
If you leave the private medical workforce for reasons other than the above become, you will become eligible for the ROCS after three years.

Information about the Temporary Resident visa is at Department of Home Affairs website:
Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and Australia's skilled visas

3. If I leave the medical workforce for other reasons than those which grant immediate ROCS eligibility, will I have to "run bare" for three years?

No, if you are not immediately eligible for the ROCS you will be able to purchase run-off cover from your medical indemnity insurers for these three years. (You should be aware that this run-off cover will therefore be your “last contract of insurance”, and will form the basis of your ROCS cover once you become eligible).

4. What if I am retired (and not yet eligible for ROCS) and have not bought run-off cover from my last insurer?

If you have left full-time private practice and are waiting to become eligible for the ROCS (i.e. you are under 65 years, have not ceased practice because of maternity or permanent disability, nor met the eligibility requirements for temporary resident doctors) then you should purchase run-off cover.

If you do not purchase run-off cover, and are not yet in the ROCS, you will be uninsured. This means you will personally bear all the costs yourself of any legal action against you, relating to your previous medical practice.

After you have been out of private practice for three years' (or meet other eligibility criteria, i.e. you retire permanently after turning 65) you will be eligible for the ROCS.

5. Will I be eligible for ROCS if I was already in one of the eligibility groups of doctors before 1 July 2004?

Yes, provided you continue to satisfy the conditions of eligibility (in particular, provided you do not resume private medical practice).

6. If I have never had medical indemnity cover, will I be covered by ROCS?

No. Doctors who deliberately choose to practice without insurance will not be covered under the ROCS.

7. Am I still eligible for ROCS if I provide services at no cost?

Yes, as long as you do not receive a payment or gratuity, the ROCS will cover you for past incidents. However the free services will not be covered by the ROCS, and you should obtain your own appropriate cover for these services.

8. If I am eligible for ROCS and then I move from the private sector to the public sector, will I be able to access the ROCS for my private work?

Yes. Except in the cases of maternity and permanent disability, to be eligible for ROCS you need only cease private medical practice.

So if you leave private practice and move to the public sector, you will be covered by ROCS for that private practice, but not for the public sector work (which would be indemnified by the public sector employer).