Overhaul of district of workforce shortage data

The Department of Health has released new maps on the DoctorConnect website that more accurately identify areas with GP shortages.

The new district of workforce shortage (DWS) maps are designed to accurately identify where doctor shortages exist using using more up-to-date population and Medicare data. The maps formerly used data from 2004.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash said DWS determinations will now occur annually rather than quarterly, giving towns where population levels fluctuate seasonally a greater certainty and stability when planning recruitment.

“Rural doctors have told me the old DWS map system was no longer accurate and was in desperate need of an overhaul," Senator Nash said.

“Our new system more accurately identifies communities where doctor shortages exist and better supports the recruitment of new doctors to areas in need.”

Communities such as Gladstone in Queensland, Mandurah in WA, Manilla (NSW), Emerald and Koo Wee Rup in Victoria and Murray Bridge (SA) will become DWS areas.

In addition to more accurate ABS and Medicare billing data, DWS status will also be considered where doctors are providing more than than 30 per cent of the normal full-time level of medical services.

This will help ensure that towns are still considered DWS if they are achieving an above-average level of Medicare services because of a small number of doctors working extremely long hours.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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