Distribution Working Group - 21 September 2018 Communique

Page last updated: 05 November 2018

Building on the previous four Distribution Working Group (DWG) meetings, the September 2018 meeting was chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

Agenda Items – 21 September 2018 meeting

  • topics discussed during the previous DWG meeting in June 2018;
  • update on the District of Workforce Shortage Subgroup of the DWG (DWG Subgroup) meetings and the revised District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) system;
  • discussion on exceptional circumstances for DWS determinations; and
  • update of the Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification system.

DWS Subgroup meetings and the revised DWS system

Members discussed the broad idea behind the DWS system is that areas having a less than average GP services per capita are allocated a DWS status, which allows an overseas trained doctor (OTD)/International Medical Graduate (IMG) an exemption from their s19AB 10 year moratorium in these areas, and hence access to Medicare billing.

In this regard, members agreed that the DWS was best described as a distribution tool as its primary focus is to encourage doctors to work outside of the metropolitan areas.

Members further discussed the methodology used around basing the DWS on the GP services an area would require, factoring for the demographics, socio-economic status and other population based measures in the GP catchment.

Members agreed that at this stage, this new methodology was not available for use with the specialist layer and therefore, the most appropriate method by which to update the DWS for specialists layers would be the current measure.

Exceptional circumstances for DWS like determinations

Members considered what discretionary mechanism would be required to allow exceptional circumstances for DWS like determinations.

MMM update

Members discussed the MMM update and agreed that the update should be based on the same methodology as applied in 2015.

Members discussed options by which islands should be updated, and agreed to further consider this at the next meeting when a list of islands can be reviewed.

Members agreed to continue to convene as required to assist the department by providing independent feedback on health policy development.

Distribution Working Group Membership

The Distribution Working Group membership includes a number of peak bodies representing the rural health workforce and the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Members in attendance for the 21 September 2018 meeting were:
  • Australian Antarctic Division
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Australian Medical Association
  • Monash University, School of Rural Health
  • National Rural Health Alliance
  • National Rural Health Commissioner
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Rural Doctors Association of Australia
  • Rural Health Workforce Australia
  • University of Newcastle, Department of Rural Health
  • University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
  • University of Queensland, Rural Clinical School