An extra $200K would lure GPs to work in the bush
CITY-based GPs would demand a salary increase of up to $200,000 to work in some of Australia’s most remote rural practices, according to a University of Melbourne report.
The report, based on a survey of almost 4000 GPs, sought to determine the level of compensation required to convince city GPs to accept a range of offers to move to a variety of rural and remote practice settings.
Researchers said the data indicated 65% of respondents would not quit their current position for any of the country jobs on offer.
“For the ‘least attractive’ rural job according to our attributes, we estimate that a minimum of $237,002 additional annual earnings would be required to pay the average GP,” wrote researchers.
The 'least attractive’ rural scenario was defined by researchers as involving a 10% increase in hours, 1-in-2 on-call, rural inland location, very limited social interactions, limited access to locum cover, solo practice with only a receptionist, and a 10-minute consultation length.
“For rural jobs that have ‘better’ levels of other attributes, the payments required would be smaller. For an inland town with a population less than 5000, this ranged from $32,032 to $115,745 (or between 17.6% to 63.5% of GPs annual earnings),” wrote researchers.
Lead researcher Professor Tony Scott, from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said the data was further evidence that governments needed to tailor incentive programs to specific regional areas.
“Designing schemes to encourage doctors to locate and remain in remote and rural areas requires an understanding of the various factors that motivate doctors’ decisions,” Professor Scott said.
“Incentive programs are currently based on the ‘average GP’ and the ‘average rural area’, but there is scope to make them more dependent on the type of area and population size.”