So…How DO they determine DWS?

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So…How DO they determine DWS?


An area is defined as a DWS when it’s population doesn’t have the same access to Medicare as other areas do, based on the national average.


DWS changes occur once a year in February, and are calculated using estimates in the residential population from the ABS versus the most up to date Medicare billing statistics from that area (identifying how many full time equivalent (FTE) doctors are practicing and comparing it with the population numbers)


For General Practitioners, the “locations” are worked out using an ABS statistic referred to as SA2. These are smaller areas, identified as having the same social and economic community.


For Specialists, the “locations” are worked out using an ABS statistic referred to as SA3. This is a wider and more flexible area, as they’ve determined that there are fewer medical specialists engaged in private practice (compared with GP’s) and that they therefore service a larger catchment area.


The Department will compare the FTE GP to population ratio (i.e. GP to potential patient) and will define it as a DWS if:

  • It is NOT defined as an inner metropolitan area
  • It holds the MM 5 – 7 (MM is the 3rd model after RRMA and RA)
  • The ratio of GP to Patient the same or lower than the national average
  • The Department also take in consideration if the GP to Patient ration is within 10% and it is demonstrated that the GP’s are working 30% harder than the average GP (i.e. seeing more patients/billing more to Medicare)


I realise this one is brief…it’s tough to explain these ones without using the same technical jargon that is everywhere else and I’m hoping this gives you enough information to grasp the concept. If you want to read more about it, get in touch with our team as we have a number of really helpful links where we sourced our information for this blog!


We’re about to experience a change in DWS- keep your eyes peeled. Read our blog from last week if you’re concerned about losing your GP or Job Offer here: and as always, contact our team if you get stuck.


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,     Migration  for all with a special emphasis on Medical and    Document Assistance  for those requiring support with RACGP, AHPRA, 19AA and 19AB Medicare Exemptions.

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