The New South Wales Department of Health contributes significantly to addressing medical workforce shortages in NSW through the Area of Need Program. The Program enables the recruitment of suitably qualified overseas-trained doctors into declared Area of Need positions on a temporary basis, while efforts continue to attract medical practitioners with general registration on a permanent basis.
The Area of Need program is a short-term strategy to assist in provision of clinical services while efforts continue to recruit permanent medical staff. The Department implements strategies for longer-term solutions to medical workforce shortages through:
* Implementation of a NSW Health Workforce Action Plan
* Advocacy for increased undergraduate and postgraduate university placements
* Establishment of medical specialist training networks
* Conduct of programs for General Practitioners to up skill in clinical shortage areas
* Establishment of Area Health Service Directors of Workforce to provide a stronger local focus on improving recruitment and retention
Area of Need positions are usually located in rural and remote parts of New South Wales where there is limited access to medical services and other alternative services. However, Area of Need status is also granted to hospital-based general and specialist positions in regional centres.
An Area of Need position is a term that applies to a medical position (not a geographical location) with a specific category of medical registration under the Medical Practice Act 1992.
There are three main categories of Area of Need positions:
* General Practitioner
* Hospital non-Specialist
Note: Article initially submitted by dr_ajoshi