The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy. It provides targeted financial incentives to eligible doctors and general practices to:
- improve access to quality medical, nursing and allied health services in regional, rural and remote areas
- support multidisciplinary teams in general practice.
The Australian Government committed $513.6 million to the WIP in 2020–21.
Goals of the WIP
The WIP aims to:
- encourage doctors to deliver services in regional, rural and remote communities – areas that tend to have more difficulty attracting and retaining doctors
- support primary health care practices across Australia to engage:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
- eligible allied health professionals
- support team-based multidisciplinary care models in primary health care settings, to better respond to patients with chronic and complex health conditions
- support practices to improve their use of primary health care nurses
- enable nurses in general practice to work to their full scope of practice
- provide greater flexibility for practices to engage health professionals to address service gaps and community need
- support an expanded role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and health workers to deliver culturally appropriate and safe care within general practices.
How the WIP works
The WIP has 2 streams:
- the Doctor Stream, which pays incentives directly to doctors
- the Practice stream, which pays incentives to practices.
The Doctor Stream uses 2 payment systems to assess and pay financial incentives for eligible doctors. Payments are based on activity levels within eligible locations and the length of time the doctor has been on the program.
The Practice Stream provides quarterly incentive payments to support eligible practices to engage nurses, allied health professionals, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners across all locations. The program also provides extra loadings to participating practices in some circumstances.
We have policy responsibility for the WIP. Services Australia administers the program and provides WIP payments.
The WIP guidelines set out how the program operates and provide details about eligibility and how to apply.