2introduction to medical practice in australia This section consists of two parts:Part 1:Medical RegistrationPart 2: Medicare andWorking as a Doctor in Australia
3Part one: medical registration General registrationProvisional registrationLimited registrationPostgraduate training/Supervised practiceArea of NeedPublic InterestTeaching or researchSpecialist registration
4Medical registrationAs of 1 July 2010, every doctor practising medicine in Australia must be registered with the Medical Board of Australia.There are different types of registration for different categories of medicine. These categories are:General registrationSpecialist registrationProvisional registrationLimited registrationNon-practising registrationThe following pages give further detail on Specialist registration and Limited registration.Please see the Medical Board’s website for further information on other types of registration.
5Specialist registration Medical practitioners are eligible for specialist registration after a specialist medical college assesses them as eligible to become Fellows of that college.The college must be accredited by the Australian Medical Council, as is the case with the Australasian College of Dermatologists.See the Medical Board of Australia’s website for more information.
6Limited registrationUsually, IMGs will only be able to obtain Limited Registration at first.Limited registration is available for medical practitioners who are foreign graduates of medical schools (FGAMs).This allows them to practice under supervision.The four types of limited registration are:Postgraduate training or supervised practiceArea of NeedPublic InterestTeaching or researchThe following pages give further detail on Postgraduate training and Area of Need. Please see the Medical Board’s website for further information on other types of limited registration.
7Postgraduate Training This type of registration typically applies to IMGs who are completing supervised training in Australian hospitals or other health care facilities.This type of registration has a particular set of mandatory standards that includes supervision plans and training plans.This type of registration aligns with one of three pathways to registration:Competent authorityStandard pathwaySpecialist pathway.
8Area of NeedThis type of registration is for medical practitioners working under supervision in an area where there is limited access to healthcare services.These areas are usually in rural or remote locations.This type of registration requires the practitioner to have been assessed by the AMC accredited specialist College as having the necessary knowledge and experience to practice safely.Please see the Medical Board of Australia’s website for the Area of Need registration standard.
9Specialist registration After an AMC accredited specialist medical college has assessed a practitioner as eligible for fellowship, the practitioner may then apply for specialist registration.The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for implementing the registration.AHPRA publishes an online Register of Medical Practitioners which includes a Specialists Register.
10Mandatory registration standards The Medical Board of Australia has five mandatory standards for registered medical practitioners and anyone applying for medical registration:Continuing Professional Development Registration StandardCriminal History Registration StandardEnglish Language Skills Registration StandardProfessional Indemnity Insurance Registration StandardRecency of Practice Registration Standard
12Medicare and working as a doctor in australia A Medicare provider number identifies each doctor and the location of each practice.This number makes it possible for the doctor’s patients to claim Medicare benefits for eligible services. (Patients will expect to be able to claim a rebate from Medicare for out-of-pocket expenses.)Do I need a Medicare provider number?Yes, if:you wish to work in private practiceyou wish to bulk-bill patientsyour patients are to be allowed to claim Medicare benefits for your eligible services.
13Medicare and working as a doctor in australia (ii) You do NOT need a Medicare provider number to:enter or continue specialist trainingwork in public hospitals as a salaried employee, providing the hospital bills Medicare through its own provider numberwork as an academictreat full fee-paying patients.
14Medicare and working as a doctor in australia (iii) How do I apply for a Medicare provider number? Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act (1973) restricts access to Medicare benefits for overseas trained doctors (OTDs). To obtain a Medicare provider number, OTDs are required to work in districts of workforce shortage (DWS) for 10 years from the date of their first Australian medical registration. This is commonly referred to as “the 10 year moratorium”.
15Medicare and working as a doctor in australia (Iv) Are there any exemptions from the “10 year moratorium”? You may apply for an exemption to section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act (1973) if you choose to work within a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for dermatology. A DWS is an area that currently has below average access to medical services. If you are granted this exemption, you will then be able to have Medicare provider number that applies to your practice in that district. Scaling incentives are also available and allow you to reduce the 10 year moratorium restriction period. These are based on Remoteness Area classifications (RA). Generally, the higher the classification, the more remote the location is, and the greater is the scaling discount applied. The maximum scaling available is 5 years for RA5.
16Summary of useful websites Australian Government Department of Health – District of Workforce Shortage f/Content/work-pr-dws-fact Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) https://www.ahpra.gov.au/ DoctorConnect - Medicare provider number legislation hing.nsf/Content/medicare Remoteness Area hing.nsf/Content/locator Medical Board of Australia