What is a Distribution Priority Area (DPA)?

Due to an alleged oversupply of GPs in metropolitan areas, the Department of Health has introduced new measures for overseas GPs who want to work in Australia, to better distribute them to areas of higher priority. The new DPA Australia classification system identifies locations with a shortage of medical practitioners and facilitates the placement of international medical graduates (IMGs) in rural areas and communities where there is a greater need for GPs.

The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification system has replaced the District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) system for GPs from 1st July 2019.

Alecto helps you navigate the changes

Whether you are confused or unsure about the recent DPA GP changes, please feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss your concerns and questions.

At Alecto, we always keep up with the latest rules & regulations and are happy to help you navigate the ramifications and regulations.

How are DPA locations determined?

The new DPA classification system is not based on a GP-to-population ration like DWS. Instead, the new system considers factors such as gender, age and socio-economic status of patients in a GP catchment area.

Under the new DPA system the following rules apply:

  • Inner metropolitan areas are automatically deemed non-DPA.
  • An area is automatically deemed DPA if it falls into MM 3 – 7 (Modified Monash Model)
  • Northern Territory is automatically deemed DPA
  • Locations with a less than favourable level of health services will also be classified DPA if standards don’t meet a specific service benchmark.

What does the new DPA Australia classification system mean for international medical graduates and bonded doctors?

In order to access Medicare under section 19AB of Australia’s Health Insurance Act 1973, international medical graduates who are GPs need to work in a distribution priority area.

The new system also affects Australian-trained bonded doctors. Under the BMP Scheme, the Government provides a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) at a medical school at an Australian university. In exchange for a medical place, graduates are obliged to work in a DPA location to access the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

What changes apply for specialists?

The DWS system for specialists remains largely unchanged and international medical graduates who practice in specialties are required to work in a DWS location to be able to obtain a Medicare Provider Number.

Distribution Priority Areas Map

We have looked at all major cities with the Health Workforce Locator to find out which areas are classified as DPA.

View more info about Distribution Priority Areas Map locations

Female staff having a meeting

DPA GP Jobs Vacancies

View of Coastal Melbourne
Seaford, Melbourne VIC
DPA Beachside location
DPA beachside Melbourne location
70% billings
Substantial patient base awaiting
view of Perth skyline during the day
Alexander Heights, Perth WA
STAND OUT metro practice, 19AB exemption possible
19AB exemption possible
Exceptional earning potential
Mixed billing, privately owned practice
Apple Orchard in Donnybrook
Shire of Donnybrook Balingup, WA
DPA GP Job in regional city location
DPA / MM5 location, 30mins from Bunbury
Privately owned busy practice
Suitable for substantially comparable & partially comparable GPs
View of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the road
Valentine Area, NSW
GP role with high income potential
Mixed billing practice
$165/hour income guarantee
DPA location
In between buildings in Adelaide
Redbank Plains, Ipswich QLD
GP DPA location
70% – mostly private billing
DPA location suitable for 19AB exemptions
Current doctors beyond capacity
Night view of Melbourne's Central Business District
Geelong, Melbourne VIC
Busy DPA Geelong location
“5 Star” practice in Geelong DPA location
PRIVATE billing
Current doctors booked weeks in advance

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