Health Workforce Distribution Priority Areas

Health Workforce Distribution Priority Areas

On June 11, we let you know that DWS will be removed at the end of June and replaced by ‘Distribution of Priority Areas’ (DPA). The Fact Sheets have been made available and we now have more information. To take a look at the fact sheets, there is a link at the bottom of this blog.


This is what we know…

The Department of Health has made the decision to abolish District of Workforce Shortage and replace it with ‘Distribution of Priority Areas’, commencing July 1, 2019.


DWS was calculated using GP to population ratio to determine where Doctors are needed, and is updated annually.


DPA will include information like local demographics like gender and age and socio economic status of the population to decide what is and isn’t a DPA. It will be updated every 3 years.


Certain areas will automatically be granted DPA status:

  • Inner metropolitan areas are automatically deemed non-DPA;
  • MM 5 – 7 are automatically deemed DPA;
  • Northern Territory is automatically deemed DPA;  


Other areas, we will have to wait until the maps are updated on the 1st July to determine.


DWS for Other Specialists (Not General Practice) will continue to operate as normal.


The Department of Health has identified ‘GP catchments’ (There are 829 Australia wide!) using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Medicare, ABS Australian Population Grid and Residential Mesh Blocks – data from 2016. Factors taken into consideration included patient flows, population size and distribution, numbers of GPs in a location, practices in a location, how easy it is to get to the GP (roads, mountains etc) and the state borders.



There has been so much change over the past few months, and a lot of it is still revealing itself and its implications. If you need guidance or just a chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Contact us directly on


Information for this blog has been taken directly from:



People Medical Consulting are a team of professionals with a passion for guiding those specialising in the Medical industry to find their career pathway and settle into Australia. Working with both Australian trained and Overseas trained professionals, we have extensive experience in Recruitment of General Practitioners and Document Assistance for those requiring support with RACGP, AHPRA, 19AA and 19AB Medicare Exemptions.


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