While the More Doctors For Rural Australia Program aims to help alleviate healthcare shortages in regional areas, what exactly does the initiative involve?

In almost every Australian family, there’s been at least one general practitioner that has long been regarded as an extended member of the household. A general practitioner – otherwise known as a GP – is a doctor who is also qualified in general medical practice. General practitioners are often the first point of contact for someone, of any age, who feels sick or has a health concern. 


However, access to a GP can become a little tricky when you live slightly off the grid in Australia. While the vast majority of us reside in cities or reasonably close to them, around one third of our population choose to live in regional, rural and remote areas. A world away from the big smoke, residents often include indigenous people, farming families, and a growing number of migrants and refugees looking to build a new life for themselves in the country or the outback.

 As such, access to the basics like groceries, fuel and of course, doctors, are a little bit harder to navigate, but the More Doctors For Rural Australia Program is aiming to help alleviate issues linked to the latter. 

The MDRAP Initiative Explained 

The vocational register was introduced in 1989 by the Australian Commonwealth Government with the intention of improving the standard of general practice through recognising it as a speciality. From 1989 to 1995 doctors already working in general practices could apply to be “grandfathered” into the Vocational Register so long as they also met the eligibility criteria.

After 1996, doctors with a provider number were eligible to become vocationally registered if they undertook a training program administered by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and passed an exam. Alternatively, GPs could become vocationally registered if they worked for five years in general practice, applied for membership with the RACGP and then sat the college exam.

While non-VR GPs do the same work as VR GPs and provide the same standard of care, the main difference between a VR GP and a non-VR GP is that non-VR GPs are not eligible for the same level of Medicare rebates, and consequently patients of non-VR GPs may have higher out-of-pocket expenses for GP visits. However, this is all changing thanks to the introduction of the More Doctors For Rural Australia Program, otherwise known as the MDRAP initiative. 

In essence, the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program is a 3GA program that enables non-vocationally registered doctors to work in rural and remote regions and access Medicare. It’s primarily been designed for doctors who are temporary or permanent residents of Australia, and are not vocationally recognised. General practitioners on this program get support and training towards joining a college fellowship program as a means to become vocationally recognised.

As a Commonwealth Government funded program, MDRAP offers a supported, first step to College Fellowship training. The ACRRM MDRAP program provides online education specifically tailored for rural and remote medicine, and supports doctors as a means to gain general practice experience in rural and remote communities. After successfully completing online learning and assessment, doctors then receive a certificate of completion to provide to their Rural Workforce Agency, which will determine their eligibility for course costs reimbursement in accordance with program guidelines. 

Rural and remote areas of Australia have a notoriously difficult time when it comes to GP retention. Living in the bush isn’t for everyone, but incentives such as the MDRAP program may help to alleviate the pressures linked to the cost of living and accessing health care whilst still providing valuable experience for the medical practitioners themselves. 

GP Career Opportunities In Queensland 

If you’re on the hunt for a doctor or general practitioner role in the Sunshine State, there’s a chance that you’ll either want to work a little, a lot – or somewhere in between. Queensland based opportunities with House Call Doctor offer flexibility, with shifts that fit around your current workload, personal commitments, or even just lifestyle preferences. 

Whether you’re looking to increase your earning potential, gain experience, or even just have a desire for greater job satisfaction, opportunities with House Call Doctor offer local medical practitioners a chance to explore what out of hours and locum healthcare is like, while still retaining a sense of freedom and flexibility. If you’re looking for an opportunity to broaden your career horizons, are you – 

  • An Australian or Internationally Trained Medical Graduate 
  • Have full registration with the Medical Board of Australia
  • Have two years post graduate experience, including experience in paediatrics, accident and emergency, general medicine and surgery  

If you can answer yes to all of the above, then why not consider registering your interest for locum general practitioner doctor jobs with House Call Doctor today, and be a part of the medical revolution.