How have the new GP policies changed the world of General Practice?

11 October 2019 | Australian GPs, Clinic Owners and Practice Managers, UK/Ireland GPs | 3 minutes read

How have the new GP policies changed the world of General Practice?

I write this exactly six months after the introduction of the first of a series of policy changes. That was the introduction of Health Workforce Certificates on 11 March 2019.  After six months of new policy changes, I have been reflecting on how our world has changed.

See our blog “How the GP Landscape has changed in 2019” for further details on the timeline of policy changes.

It could be different in a few weeks, but right now, this is how things look from our perspective – and it wasn’t what we expected:

  1. The level of interest from highly qualified UK GPs remains steady.  We don’t know if it’s ‘push factors’ like Brexit and the NHS or ‘pull’ factors because of the better lifestyle and career opportunities in Australia. For practices in eligible locations, with an interesting lifestyle, GP recruitment looks better than ever.
  2. The complexity of GP placements (for OTDs) has increased. We now have to spend more time assessing each case before recommending options for new jobs. I fear that recruiters who are not familiar with this space will have significant problems arising as they were unable to anticipate the impact of the changes.
  3. Many practices are reporting that they are finding it more difficult than ever to operate in a financially sustainable manner. They are affected by a range of additional policy changes, but the difficulties with recruitment are an additional burden.
  4. Overseas based GPs accept that things have changed, and some are actually showing a great deal of interest in coastal regional locations.
  5. The list of regional locations that fulfil all the current criteria for overseas doctors is surprisingly small.  Just because an area is MMM4 (e.g Beaudesert), doesn’t mean it has DPA/DWS and conversely, just because an area has DPA status, doesn’t mean you can get a Health Workforce Certificate (e.g Woy Woy). We understand that the Department of Health is addressing these anomalies.
  6. The real problem for most new GPs coming from overseas, is the Health Workforce Certificate. (See Visas for GPs Initiative fact sheet for more info).  This is much more limiting than most other restrictions placed on newly arriving GPs.
  7. The highly advertised Standard PEP pathway is incredibly unpopular and not likely to deliver the workforce to rural and regional areas unless changes are made.

Quick recap of changes

  • 11 March 2019: Visas for GPs program introduced – Visas linked to Location
  • 1 July 2019: SAPP program closed
  • 1 July 2019: District of Workforce (DWS) replaced by Distribution Priority Areas (DPA)
  • 1 September 2019: Specialist Recognition Program (SRP) replaced by Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream
  • 16 November 2019: New regional visas to be introduced

Learn more about these changes

 Need assistance? Ask Alecto

Due to the policy changes and the increased complexity it can be difficult to navigate the GP landscape on your own.

What makes Alecto different from other recruiters is that we are completely specialised in GP recruitment and consulting. In fact, we see ourselves more as workforce advisors rather than just recruitment agents. Our consultants are always up to date with the latest developments and endeavour to help all our clients in finding a suitable solution for their unique situation.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation with one of our experienced consultants, please get in touch on info@alecto.com.au or call us on 1800 604 332.

 

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