GP Moving to Australia | Applying for a Medicare Provider Number

Once you have had your GP visa approval and have arrived for your new life in Australia, you’ll be delighted that the hard work has been done and you can relax into your new surroundings.

Before you are able to start treating patients as a GP in Australia, you need to apply for a Medicare provider number.

Why do I need a Provider Number?

A Medicare Provider number allows you to attract Medicare rebates for your services and to treat private patients. As a GP you will be paid a percentage of the total amount billed by the practice for the patients you treat, therefore crucial you have a provider number in place to allow you to be paid.

Provider Numbers, Medicare and DWS

The Australian Government introduced Provider Number restrictions to try to address the areas of workforce shortage in Australia. From 1997, to be eligible to apply for a Provider Number, all doctors who have completed their Primary Medical Degree overseas are required to gain an exemption of the Health Insurance Act (Section 19ab) The most commonly used exemption of this act, is for the GP to work in a district of workforce shortage (DWS) defined by the Department of Health and Ageing.

One of the stipulations of Section 19ab require all overseas trained GP work in a DWS area for 10 years from the date of first registration with the Medical Board. This is commonly known as the ’10 year moratorium’

DWS are geographical areas, defined by the Department of Health Australia, in which the local population has less access to Medicare subsidised services compared with the national average.

Where can I work as a GP in Australia?

The DWS Doctor Connect map allows you to search specific locations to determine DWS eligibility. You can work in any area which has current DWS status. You do not have to stay with the same practice for the full 10 years, you can move between states and employers, as long as there is DWS in place.

Medicare statistics are reviewed on an ongoing basis and areas can gain or lose their DWS status. Once you have accepted a position and signed a contract, there is no problem if your area loses DWS.

How do I apply for a Provider Number?

This is the final piece of paperwork to complete once you are in Australia. Transition Medical have a Specialist Registration Consultant who will manage this paperwork for you and send of the relevant forms.

We assist every GP who has accepted a job through us with their medical registration and visa paperwork, providing expert guidance and advice throughout the process.

When will my Provider Number be approved?

Once your application has been submitted to Medicare it can take around 28 days for your approval to come through. During this time, you can be settling into life in Australia, finding longer term accommodation and completing your induction in the practice. Perhaps even squeezing in a little time out at the beach before it’s back to work.

We advise that you ensure you have enough funds to see you through this initial period before you start earning an income. If you have any questions or want to discuss your plans please get in touch with our team.

Find out more here in our further Blogs

Where can I work as a GP in Australia

A day in the Life of a GP in Australia

Want to know more about working in Australia?