Financial rewards for remote general practitioners.

“The financial incentive program helps to feel you’re being compensated for the challenging nature of remote medicine. I’ve put my WIP-DS payments towards buying a bike and taking an extended holiday; it’s helped me achieve work-life balance, which is essential to being a sustainable rural practitioner in a remote location.” - General practitioner working in an MM6 location

GPRIP-FPS-Rural Health West-WA

What is WIP - Doctor Stream 

The Workforce Incentive Program - Doctor Stream (WIP-DS) provides financial incentives to medical practitioners providing eligible non-Medicare services and/or undertaking training (under approved training pathways) that is not reflected in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) records in regional, rural and remote locations. Incentives are tiered, based on remoteness and increase the longer a medical practitioner works in regional, rural and remote locations. 

The WIP-DS  is a component of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy 2018-19 Budget measure. The aim of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy is to build a sustainable, high-quality health workforce that is appropriately qualified, distributed across the country according to community need and engaged in multidisciplinary and team-based models of care. 

Eligibility

To be eligible for the WIP-DS medical practitioners must:

  • provide eligible primary care services and/or undertake GP Registrar training placements under an approved training pathway in regional, rural and remote locations (Modified Monash [MM] categories 3-7) within Australia;
  • have an eligible current Medicare provider number; and
  • have provided current bank details to the Department of Human Services specifically for the WIP-DS.

Alternative Employment not covered under the Central Payment System (CPS)

Below are the forms of employment that are eligible for assessment under the FPS.

alternative employment

Alternative Employment Top-Up
If the medical practitioner fits into one of the Alternative Employment provisions but provides a mix of MBS billed and non-billed services and has billed enough to trigger a Central Payment System automatic payment across the relevant period, the medical practitioner can apply through the FPS to see if they are eligible for an ‘Alternative Employment Top-Up’.

See the WIP-DS Program Guidelines for full details on the eligibility requirements.

Special Top-Up Provision
Medical practitioners working in remote and very remote communities can apply for a Special Top-Up payment under the circumstances covered in the Special Top-Up Provisions table.

Top-up-provisions-0120
See the WIP-DS Program Guidelines for full details on the eligibility requirements.

Medical practitioners working in detention centres, defence facilities and Antarctica are not eligible for the WIP-DS. Junior doctors completing their compulsory hospital year (RACGP) or core clinical training year (ACRRM) cannot claim the WIP-DS.

Incentives

Higher incentives are available for medical practitioners who work in remote locations for extended periods. The following table outlines the maximum annual payments available to medical practitioners across each MM at each Year Level. 

GPRIP-financial incentives table-Rural Health West-0218

Actual payments may be lower as they are dependent on the level of eligible activity performed by the medical practitioner (see "Other requirements" below for further information).

Flexible Payments System
The FPS only applies to medical practitioners (including GP Registrars) who are not billing the Medicare Benefits Schedule for ALL of their eligible non-Medicare primary care services or training placement. This is particularly relevant to medical practitioners working in Aboriginal Medical Services, providing primary care services in the hospital system and GP Registrars. 

The FPS component of WIP-DS is administered in Western Australia by Rural Health West.

Other requirements

Medical practitioners can access WIP-DS payments based on the volume of work they have undertaken in rural and remote locations. 

Medical practitioners receiving incentives through the WIP-DS are considered ‘active’ if they provide at least 21 eligible primary care sessions* over a 13-week period (being a quarter). You can only claim two sessions per day irrespective of the number of hours you may actually work that day.

*a primary care WIP-DS session must be longer than three hours.

Incentives paid through the WIP-DS FPS are not automated. Medical practitioners are required to complete the 
WIP - Doctor Stream Application Form and submit to the Rural Health West Finance team.

Example: level of activity required under the FPS

GPRIP-FPS-example level activity-Rural Health West-0218

Next steps

If you believe you are eligible for WIP-DS incentives through the FPS, you can download and complete the WIP - Doctor Stream Application Form and submit it to the Rural Health West Finance team.

Further information

If you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility requirements for WIP-DS incentives, contact the Rural Health West Finance team 
or telephone  08 6389 4500.