What is an Area of Need?
An Area of Need (AoN) is a location in which there is a recognised lack of specific medical practitioners or where there are medical positions that remain unfilled even after recruitment efforts have taken place over a period of time.
AoN for general practitioners is restricted to rural and outer metropolitan regions but can be applied to positions in either the public or private sector. For South Australia (SA) the program is managed b the SA MET Unit on behalf of the South Australian Department of Health.
The program supports health service providers who are experiencing a medical workforce shortage and can demonstrate that they have been unable to recruit an Australian-trained medical practitioner to the vacant position.
Once AoN is granted, employers are able to extend their recruitment program to include international medical graduates (IMGs) not currently registered in Australia.
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (SA) Act 2010, a location must be recognised as an AoN to allow the Medical Board of Australia to grant limited medical registration to the IMG and enable their employment at that location. Applications are considered by the SA Health Chief Medical Officer and approved by the South Australian Minister for Health.
Applicants are expected to be able to meet/demonstrate the following criteria:
- a genuine vacancy exists
- the provision of medical services would fall below an acceptable level if the vacancy was not filled
- the market has been tested. The Australian medical community needs to have had the vacancy brought to its attention (e.g. state, national and/or relevant specialty advertising). SA MET and SA Health must be satisfied that there is no appropriately qualified Australian-trained medical practitioner to appoint to the position.