While many people decry the changes to DPA/DWS and the RACGP Specialist Pathway, the real barrier to recruitment is the Health Workforce Certificate (HWC). Forget DPA and forget RACGP, if you don’t have a HWC, you can’t work.
Many people don’t understand that any GPs (both VR and non VR) need a HWC if they need visa sponsorship of any kind (e.g TSS, 189 or 186 visa). This does not apply to any other workforce group in Australia (including hospital specialists), but it certainly has an impact on GPs.
For those who are not already aware, the issuing of HWC is controlled by a Government Agency (RWA) that has no mandate to support outer metro areas and exists entirely to support rural and regional healthcare.
So until now, there have been virtually no HWCs issued for any areas that are MMM1. At the same time, the classification of MMM1 has been changed to include many areas that were previously considered regional (e.g Central Coast).
Fortunately, the HWC can be changed instantly if the Department of Health decides to make localised changes. They simply need to instruct their key employees or public servants to use a different approach to be granting the HWC and things will change quickly. This is not the case with legislation for 19AA or 19AB and so I find it encouraging to hear that the Department is seeking feedback
This gives me hope that sensible changes will be implemented to ensure that there are fewer unexpected negative consequences as a result of policy changes. In the meantime, if you are a practice owner, make sure you give regular feedback to your PHN, RWA agency or local MP to ensure that local anomalies are not overlooked.
The Health Workforce Locator is an online tool you can use to find health workforce classifications and incentives for different areas of Australia. It also helps you determine whether a specific location may be eligible for a Health Workforce Certificate.
If you have any questions regarding Health Workforce Certificates or if you need assistance in finding a GP job in your desired area, please contact Alecto Australia at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 1800 604 332
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