DWS changing to the DPA – What you need to know

July 1, 2019 4:18 pm Published by mobile phone next to stethoscope on a table

From 1 July 2019, a new health workforce Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification system replaced the Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS) Assessment Areas for GPs and Bonded Doctors. Instead of using a GP-to-population ratio, the new DPA system takes into account demographics (gender/age) and socio-economic status of patients living in a GP catchment area.

The DPA applies the following blanket rules:

  • Inner metropolitan areas are automatically deemed non-DPA;

  • MM 5 – 7 are automatically deemed DPA;

  • Northern Territory is automatically deemed DPA;

A map of the Distribution Priority Areas is available at the following website:

So all International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who specialise in General Practice and are still subject to the 10 year moratorium are now required to work in a DPA instead of a DWS in order to obtain a Medicare Provider Number.

What hasn’t changed are the locum, after-hours, replacement, and spousal provisions which allow GP’s required to work in a DPA location to work in a none DPA location provided they can satisfy the requirements.

For doctors other than GP’s the DWS classification is still in place and affects the following specialties;

  • Anaesthetics

  • Cardiology

  • Diagnostic Radiology

  • General Surgery

  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology

  • Ophthalmology

  • Medical Oncology

  • Psychiatry

DWS Specialist layers can be viewed using the same map available on the website listed above. .

Going forward the Department of Health plan to establish a Distribution Advisory Group (DAG) later in 2019. The group will be asked to review the Specialist layers and consider whether the GP Catchment area methodology is appropriate.

If you have any questions or would like more specific information relevant to you please give us a call on 07 3210 6332 and ask for Tony.

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This post was written by JPS Recruit

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