Recruiting, retaining and supporting General Practitioners (GPs), Nurses and Allied Health Professionals in rural New South Wales, Australia

Workforce Facts & Figures

As the designated Rural Workforce Agency (RWA) in New South Wales, RDN gathers statistical data that are critical for GP workforce planning and policy development within RDN and at a state and national level.

At 30 June 2016 there were:

  • 2,038 rural NSW GPs (excluding registrars)
  • 2,520 rural NSW GPs including registrars in 637 practices in Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) 2-5
  • 701 rural NSW GPs who are Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) in rural hospitals in RA 2-5
  • 231 GP vacancies registered with RDN in rural towns.

In recent decades, rural NSW GPs have remained in rural practice longer than in any other Australian state or territory. Despite an increase in the number of rural GPs over the years, average hours of patient contact has declined as a result of more doctors working part-time and a gradual reduction in the traditionally long hours of work undertaken. A concern is the number of GPs aged over 55 years, which currently stands at 700*. The need to replace these doctors as they retire or leave rural practice poses a significant challenge, not least because this cohort of doctors take an active and critical role in training registrars and medical undergraduates.

Further reading is available under RDN Publications, such as:

  • Female GPs – recruitment and retention of the female rural medical workforce
  • GP Workforce – NSW Minimum Data Set Reports, National Minimum Data Set Reports
  • RDN Discussion/Policy Papers – workforce strategies
  • RDN Research – a variety of research into the rural medical workforce
  • RDN Vacancies – six-monthly rural NSW GP Vacancies reports.

* Figure at 30 June 2016