Review into maldistribution of medical workforce announced

2 minute read

The Monash Modified Model, and two other major policy levers are about to feel the heat.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has announced another review, this time focused on how to alleviate the maldistribution of doctors and other health workers around the country. 

The Working Better for Medicare Review will look at how current policies and programs can be strengthened to make it easier to see a doctor, nurse or other health worker in the “outer suburbs of major cities and in regional, rural and remote Australia”. 

The Review will look at Medicare’s role in locating the workforce, as well as the three main policy levers used to distribute the workforce: 

  • Monash Modified Model; 
  • District of Workforce Shortage, and 
  • Distribution Priority Area. 

HSD’s sister publication, The Medical Republic reported yesterday on one case where the DPA system has gone horribly wrong, in Pearcedale, an hour out of Melbourne. 

DoHAC said the review would “identify ways to improve health access for Australians, by building a more stable, motivated, and properly located workforce”. 

“The aim is to have an appropriately located workforce, particularly in areas that find it difficult to attract and keep doctors, so that all Australians can access the care they need, when they need it, regardless of where they choose to live,” said the department announcement. 

The review will be led by nurse, advocate and remote health expert Professor Sabina Knight, and former senior health bureaucrat and academic Mick Reid. Findings are expected to be provided to the government by the middle of next year. 

The Working Better for Medicare Review follows Professor Mark Cormack’s “Unleashing the Potential of Our Health Workforce”, a review of workforce scope. 

“The levers we have to spread doctors and health workers around the country are from a very different time, before the covid pandemic and the global health workforce crunch,” said Mr Butler. 

“The Albanese Government will use all possible levers to encourage doctors and other health workers to be where patients need them to be – outside of cities and in areas of need. 

“I am delighted that Mick and Sabina, two expert, independent reviewers, have accepted my invitation to guide the review and look forward to the outcomes of this important work.” 

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