Rural GPs hit by new remote classification

RURAL doctors have rejected Health Department claims that there is “no solid data” to prove the new classification system for geographical remoteness discourages GPs from moving to the bush.

From July last year the Government began to apply the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) developed by the Bureau of Statistics to compare rural and urban areas – in place of the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) index – to a range of incentives and programs.

The decision affected eligibility for incentives paid to GPs to remain in, or relocate to, rural areas as well as incentives for registrars who undertook training in those areas.

The RDAA previously raised concerns about the system, saying it offered the same incentives to doctors in large regional centres as it did to those in small towns. 

Department officials told a recent Senate Estimates hearing there was