For Dr Daniel Mealey, the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP), administered by the NSW Rural Doctors' Network (RDN), has been the perfect way to return to clinical practice.
MDRAP allows non-vocationally registered doctors to work in rural regions and access Medicare while working towards a GP specialisation. The program also offers a funding package to support supervision and education.
Dr Mealey says, “Having taken time off work, I highly recommend MDRAP and RDN’s recruitment services. It’s hard for any doctor to trust others to give accurate and timely advice, particularly when time is ticking on a career requiring an immediate clinical placement."
RDN matched Dr Mealey with an opportunity at the Queen Street Medical Centre in Moruya, a rural community which is now benefiting from an extra GP in town. “It could not possibly have been a better fit,” he says.
08 February 2023
No matter where you are
Rural & Remote Australia
Dr Daniel Mealey, happy to be practicing in Moruya.
The More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP), a program funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging (DoHA), supports registered medical practitioners (junior doctors, locums and international medical graduates) without vocational registration to gain general practice experience ahead of joining a GP training program to work towards Fellowship.
More doctors are needed in our rural areas to support the health needs of country Australians. This program provides access to a Medicare provider number and a support package for applicant education and supervision. Eligibility is limited to MMM2-7 locations, practices in Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) and Aboriginal medical services.
Rural Workforce Agencies administer the program and support package on behalf of DoHA. The program also relies on GP supervisors in rural and remote practices to support the participant's training and development.
Dr Mealey was one of 106 doctors accessing Medicare through the program in NSW in 2021-22. His new practice in Moruya on the NSW south coast sits in an MMM5 (small rural towns) classification.
“Engaging with MDRAP was much more than simply being linked with a job,” said Dr Mealey. “The RDN Medical Workforce Consultant assigned to my case truly understood this, as well as my training and supervision needs, and she synthesized a perfect plan within 24 hours, removing any previous anxieties.”
Along with supporting placements onto MDRAP, Rural Workforce agencies offer financial support for doctors on the program and their supervisors to support the costs of tailored education packages and the costs of supervision. There were 236 doctors working in regional and remote Australia accessing the MDRAP support package at December 31, 2022.
At the other end of the pipeline, 76 doctors in NSW progressed from MDRAP to a GP training program in the financial year to June 2022.
NSW Rural Doctors Network offers individualised advice about the program and supports available. Rural Workforce Agencies in each state and territory can provide information on eligibility and applications. Program guidelines are available on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
Reach out to the RWA in your region of interest by clicking on the relevant section of the map at the bottom of this page.