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Workforce Support

The Nepean Blue Mountains PHN Workforce Program aims to develop a sustainable and skilled primary health care workforce via the dual provision of workforce and practice support.

Workforce Services

The services offered by the Workforce Program include

Workforce Information


The Australian Federal Government - Department of Health (DoH) has developed DoctorConnect, a site that contains important information for doctors interested in working in Australia.

DoctorConnect is intended to assist international medical graduates (IMGs), employers, and recruitment agencies to efficiently negotiate a path through the various immigration, job search, registration, assessment, recognition, and approval processes relating to entry into Australia, and into avenues of employment in the Australian medical workforce.

More information: DoctorConnect

Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973

Section 19AB of the Act restricts access to Medicare benefits and requires overseas trained doctors (OTDs) and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools (FGAMS) to work in Distribution Priority Area (DPA) [previously known as a District of Workforce Shortage] for 10 years from their first Australian medical registration. This is commonly referred to as ‘the 10 year moratorium’.

More information: Department of Health

Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973

This section of the Act applies to all doctors who were first recognised as a medical practitioner in Australia after 1st November 1996 and are not vocationally registered GPs or Fellows of the RACGP. All doctors affected by Section 19AA of the Act need to be enrolled in a program approved under Section 3GA of the Act in order to attract Medicare benefits.

More information: Department of Health

Distribution Priority Area (DPA)

From 1 July 2019, a new health workforce Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification system replaced the Districts of Workforce Shortage Assessment Areas for GPs and Bonded Doctors. This has implications for the majority of general practices in the Nepean Blue Mountains area.

GP workforce in the Blue Mountains received a boost recently, with news that the Blue Mountains has been re-classified as a GP DPA. This will make it easier to attract doctors to work in the region, because affected general practices can once again employ international medical graduates and Australian-trained bonded doctors who are required to work in DPA areas to access the MBS. 

An application of DPA status review for the Richmond-Windsor GP catchment is still pending. The Department of Health website advises that a review for Penrith was not granted, because the area maintains significantly higher levels of GP service access compared to other regions and is well serviced in terms of population growth, GPs and services per capita.

Ongoing DPA status was granted to Lithgow, as a rural town, in December.

More information: Department of Health

Area of Need (AoN)

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 IMGs to vacant positions approved as an AoN. An AoN only applies to the particular position for which it was granted: it does not apply to a specific geographic area.

More information: NSW Department of Health


For further information, please call our Workforce Support Team on 02 4708 8100 or contact us online.