Focus on the Future: GP Workforce in NSW and the ACT


The ACT and NSW Primary Health Networks will play a key role in the distribution of the GP trainee workforce after being awarded a grant through the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Program.

The Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program GP Workforce Planning and Prioritisation grant will enable the consortium of the ACT and 10 NSW PHNs to provide advice on the priority locations for GP training placements to meet current and future GP workforce needs, including in Western NSW.

Training will be delivered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) from February 2023.

Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) CEO, Andrew Coe, says this work will make a vital contribution to the future of GP training.

“Advice provided by the PHNs will inform the distribution of the GP trainee workforce across NSW and the ACT and support the transition to college-led GP training. It will also enable greater visibility of training opportunities to support GP trainees to undertake their training and acquire the skills to meet the community’s health needs.”

“The distribution approach under the College-led model deliberately provides a level of flexibility in how registrar distribution is achieved to ensure that placement decisions support a safe and positive registrar experience,” said Mr Coe.

PHNs will use their well-established relationships with local general practices and stakeholders to map the existing and future general practitioner and trainee workforce in each region.

“We will collect data on the current GP workforce, training practice accreditation, capacity and any retirement and succession plans. This information will be extremely valuable in identifying areas of current high community need and future growth,” said Mr Coe.

The AGPT Program trains doctors in general practice who can then work as GPs anywhere in Australia. The three to four-year training program offers 1,500 training places each year under a competitive merit-based process.

The grant will enable an increase in the data analytics capacity of each PHN to map community need against workforce and GP training requirements.

“PHNs are well placed to provide this advice. We have supported our primary care workforce and established highly effective stakeholder relationships across the health system since 2015. We have deeply embedded working relationships with general practice and have also conducted comprehensive Health Needs Assessments to determine the health and service needs of the population and health care system within our regions,” said Mr Coe.