health workforce

NCPHN provides support and works collaboratively with primary health care professionals to deliver quality primary health care on the North Coast.


NCPHN implements initiatives to build the capacity of the primary health care workforce including:

Professional Development Scholarships

NPCHN offers scholarships in selected priority areas to build the capacity of North Coast primary health care professionals to delivery quality health care.
Scholarships include:

District of Workforce Shortage and Area of Need

A District of Workforce Shortage (DSW) is a geographic area where the population’s need for healthcare has not been met.

Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) restricts overseas trained doctors (OTDs) and Foreign Graduates of Accredited Medical Schools (FGAMS) from accessing the Medicare benefits arrangements unless they choose to practice in a DWS for their medical speciality in order to access the Medicare benefits arrangements.

All OTDs and FGAMS who first started working as a doctor in Australia after 1996 are subject to section 19AB of the Act.DWS areas are determined by the Australian Government Department of Health using Australian Bureau of Statistics population data and Medicare billing data. To check if a location is a DWS, ‘Search the Map’ on the DoctorConnect website.

Area of Need is determined by the NSW Department of Health.

It assists employers who are experiencing difficulty recruiting medical practitioners with specialist registration. It allows the recruitment of suitably qualified International Medical Graduates to vacant positions approved as an Area of Need.

An Area of Need only applies to the particular position for which it was granted: it does not apply to a specific geographic area.

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