QUESTION OF THE WEEK :
Can we request for a review of a DPA or DWS classification?
What is DPA/DWS?
The DoH currently uses DPA (for General Practitioners) and DWS (For other Specialists) to determine whether a catchment area is an area of workforce need. They determine this based on a number of factors which you can learn more about here. Essentially, this restricts certain Doctors- specifically Bonded students and International Medical Graduates from working in areas not classified as DPA/DWS.
What is this review of classification request?
There is now the ability to apply for a review of your area’s DPA. It isn’t practice specific- it’s for the full location so getting as many practices in your area on board as possible will be to your advantage.
What do I need to do?
Step one is contacting your Rural Workforce Agency (see below links) and talk to them about other ways to address your local workforce shortages. You’ll also need to be able to demonstrate that you’ve attempted their suggestions.
You’ll also need to demonstrate a reason why the need is there, with options offered such as:
- Changes to health services, workforce or health systems, i.e. there has been an unexpected change to the local health workforce meaning the community has lost crucial health services. Doctors may have retired or medical centres closed or possibly you’ve had a large increase of patients to the total area.
- Patient demographics or changes, i.e. local GPs have retired and not been replaced or local medical practices have closed or your local population has increased. You may have a high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a lower socioeconomic status or a larger geriatric population in need of greater access to healthcare.
- Absence of services, i.e. You can clearly show that the location struggles to recruit Doctors, or the difficulties you face are worse than similar communities.
What evidence should I provide?
- Evidence that you’ve been in touch with the Health Workforce Agency
- Evidence you’ve attempted their suggestions
- Evidence around local workforce changes- i.e. COVID affected areas
- Evidence of local Doctors who have retired or practices that have closed
- Letters of support from agencies, other local practices, your own advertising (Seek and Indeed both have statistics) to support your ongoing struggle to recruit.
You can ask yourself, and answer some of the following questions (Source: PHN: Darling Down & West Moreton)
- Have you tried recruiting GPs? When, where, how long for, what was the result?
- Barriers to successfully recruiting, e.g. competition with big city practices and their % pay
- Rates etc
- What could your practice provide with more GP hours?
- Increased Covid vaccination rates?
- Manage Chronic Disease Pts in practice,
- Reduced number of referrals to the HHS
- Provide extended hours of service -After Hours, or 7/24
- Provide RACF or Disability homes facility services……
- Home visits to frail, aged and end of life
- Local hospital workload and impact on your practice- What is the impact of poor access to hospital services in your region and subsequently the impact on your practice and patients.
- How will more GP hours change this?
- Regional growth impact.
- Practice population demographics- Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander, High Needs and vulnerable patients, elderly, and children (high users of health services). Chronic disease burden.
- Regional health needs:
- High Mental Health rates, suicides etc?
- Population or Patients to GP ratio in your practice?
- How often are you not able to accept new patients?
- How often are you unable to offer quick access for unwell patients, refer to AH services or ED?
- General Practice wait time for a patient to get an appointment if unwell today? And general wait for a general appointment?
How do I contact the Rural Workforce Agencies?
There is a different agency for every state. You can see the list here: http://www.rhwa.org.au/ruralworkforceagencies or click the links below:
- NSW Rural Doctors Network
- Rural Workforce Agency Victoria
- Health Workforce Queensland
- Rural Health West
- Rural Doctors Workforce Agency (SA)
- HR Plus
- Northern Territory PHN
How long will it take?
After gathering your evidence and submitting your application, you can expect a response in 3 – 5 weeks, and outcomes will be published online.
How do I apply?
You can find the application form here
You’ll need to send it, and your supporting information to [email protected]
How Can We Help?
Our team offers General Practitioners help with finding jobs and a career pathway, and Medical Facilities to find a new Medical Practitioner. We also help with the full application process with AHPRA, RACGP, ACRRM, Department of Health, Medicare including 19AA & 19AB. If we can help, please contact us at [email protected].
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.