For the purposes of section 19(2) of the Health Insurance (Bonded Medical Program) Rule 2020, the Department of Health has, on 30 June 2022, published a notice that the elements of the Department’s web portal required for a bonded participant to comply with each relevant provision are functional. Bonded participants are encouraged to log on to the Bonded Return of Service System (BRoSS) as soon as possible to update their details.
About the program
The Bonded Medical Program provides a Commonwealth Supported Place in a medical course at an Australian university.
In return, bonded participants commit to work in an eligible regional, rural and remote area for 3 years after they complete their course. This is called a ‘return of service obligation’ (RoSO).
Existing participants of 2 legacy schemes that have closed to new participants can apply to opt in to the Bonded Medical Program. These are the:
Find out more about the program in our webinars for prospective students or legacy scheme participants.
Why it is important
The program aims to provide more doctors in areas of workforce shortage in regional, rural and remote Australia.
This ensures that Australia’s medical workforce is well distributed, flexible and targeted to areas of most need.
The program is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.
To be eligible, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent visa holder, and either:
- have been offered a bonded place in a medical course at an Australian university
- be a participant in either the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme or Bonded Medical Places Scheme.
You do not need to be from a rural or remote area.
Read the full details about the program in our information booklets for either prospective students or existing participants of legacy schemes considering opting in to the program.
Australian universities that participate in the program will offer a bonded place to prospective students. Your university will manage the selection process.
If your university offers you a bonded place, you have until 30 June in your first year of study to accept it through the Bonded Return of Service System (BRoSS).
BRoSS enables bonded participants to plan, monitor and manage their own obligations under the program.
Once you are a bonded participant in the program, you must meet certain requirements.
- completing your RoSO in an approved regional, rural or remote area
- keeping your personal details and milestone information up to date in BRoSS.
Completing your RoSO
You can complete your RoSO:
- any time over an 18-year period – it doesn’t have to be continuous
- part time, full time or on a per-day basis
- as a fly-in/fly-out doctor in eligible locations
- half before your fellowship, and half after you attain fellowship.
Eligible locations are:
- Modified Monash Model locations 2 to 7, which include any location other than metropolitan areas
- Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) for general practitioners, which are locations with a shortage of medical practitioners
- outer metropolitan Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for specialists, which are locations with poor access to specialists.
Inner metropolitan areas are not eligible locations regardless of status.
To find out which locations are eligible for you to complete your RoSO, you can use the Health Workforce Locator.
Bonded participants can also access a mapping tool in BRoSS.
Opting in from a legacy scheme
You can opt in to the Bonded Medical Program if you are an existing participant in the:
- Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme and have completed your medical degree
- Bonded Medical Places Scheme, even if you are still completing your medical degree – you will have a maximum 3-year RoSO for those from 2015 and earlier or keep your 12-month RoSO for those from 2016 to 2019.
Read more about your obligations if you opt in from the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme or the Bonded Medical Places Scheme.
If, once you have considered your obligations, you would like to opt in to the Bonded Medical Program, email us using our template.
Addressing implementation issues
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.
Rural Workforce Agencies in the relevant state or territory will provide support and help you find placements in roles that meet your RoSO.
You can also get support from the:
- National Rural Health Student Network
- Australian Medical Association
- Australian Medical Students’ Association.
Booklet for prospective students
An information booklet for prospective students considering accepting a place in the Bonded Medical Program.
Booklet for legacy scheme participants
An information booklet for participants of the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme or Bonded Medical Places Scheme considering opting in to the Bonded Medical Program.
See all the resources related to the Bonded Medical Program.