About the scheme
The Bonded Medical Places Scheme has closed to new applicants. It accepted participants between 2004 and 2019.
This scheme provided a Commonwealth Supported Place at a medical school in an Australian university.
In exchange, after they graduate, participants must work for a specified period in an eligible regional, rural or remote area. This is called a ‘return of service obligation’ (RoSO).
For the full details about the scheme, read your deed of agreement or deed of variation
and the Bonded Medical Places Scheme student information booklet.
Why it is important
The scheme aims to provide more doctors in areas of workforce shortage, particularly in regional, rural and remote Australia.
This ensures that Australia’s medical workforce is well distributed, flexible and targeted to areas of most need.
As a participant in the Bonded Medical Places Scheme, you must meet certain requirements.
This includes completing your RoSO in an approved regional, rural or remote area in line with your deed of agreement or deed of variation.
The length of time depends on when you joined the scheme and is specified in your individual deed of agreement.
Some participants can reduce their RoSO period through scaling.
You can apply to defer your RoSO in some circumstances.
Locations where you can complete your RoSO are specified in your individual deed of agreement.
Participants can use the Health Workforce Locator (with the relevant layer on) to check eligible locations.
Eligible training application form
If you are submitting an application for eligible training, please complete and submit an Eligible Training Application Form.
You must also provide supporting evidence with your application form. This can be in the form of a signed letter on official letterhead from your employer or a contract of employment signed by both parties. The following details must be included in your supporting evidence:
- the start and end date of your placement
- the number of hours worked per week
- your physical work location/s
- whether you are pre-vocational (resident) or vocational (registrar)
- your position title.
Your training placement must be approved by the department prior to the conclusion of the training placement.
Opting in to the Bonded Medical Program
As a participant in the Bonded Medical Places Scheme, you can opt in to the Bonded Medical Program, even if you are still completing your medical degree.
We recommend you seek legal advice before making a decision.
Bonded Medical Places Scheme participants who opt in:
- will have a maximum 3-year RoSO for those from 2015 and earlier
- keep their full-time 12-month RoSO for those from 2016 to 2019.
You must complete your RoSO within 18 years from the day you complete your medical degree – any RoSO you already completed will be carried over.
You must also 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 Bonded Medical Places Scheme on your existing deed of agreement.
Bonded Medical Places Scheme participants considering opting in to the Bonded Medical Program should read the obligations fact sheet and the 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.
See all the resources related to the Bonded Medical Places Scheme.