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Bonded Medical Program

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The Bonded Medical Program was established in 2001 and is a critical component of the Australian Government’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy to ensure that the Australian trained medical workforce is well-distributed, flexible and targeted to areas of most need.

The Program provides students with a Commonwealth Supported Place at an Australian university. In exchange for the place, bonded participants agree to work in an eligible regional, rural and remote area for a specified period once they have completed their medical degree. This work is known as their Return of Service Obligation (RoSO).

The Bonded Medical Program Strategy supports the distribution of the health workforce through a range of incentives to give doctors more opportunities to train and practice in rural and remote Australia. Rural Doctors Network (RDN) is committed to providing across the board support for all students who are interested students currently involved, and doctors completing their RoSO. We believe that with adequate support, students and doctors can excel both professionally and personally whilst working in regional, remote and rural Australia. 

Note: in 2021, the Department of Health released a revised Bonded Medical Program, a singular program which replaces the former two of the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme, and the Bonded Medical Placements Scheme. All students and doctors who entered the BMP under either of these were offered the option to either change to the revised BMP, or continue on the program they were originally awarded.


Role of Rural Doctors Network

We at RDN want to encourage students in the BMP to successfully engage with the opportunities that come with working in regional, remote and rural NSW. We endevour to support both bonded students and doctors to seek out a career which works for their individual needs, allowing them to optimise their time during RoSO. Through our Go Rural, Outreach Student Placement Program, and Bush Bursaries and Country Women's Association Scholarships opportunities, we aim to showcase the diversity and opportunity of the rural medical workforce, encouraging students to see the amazing opportunities that come with going rural. We provide support and contacts across NSW, helping students and doctors build networks both professionally and personally. If you are considering the Bonded Medical Program, or are currently a bonded student or doctor, RDN looks forward to supporting you through each step of this exciting journey. 

To read more about the role of the Rural Workforce Agencies click here. 


Key points about the Bonded Medical Program

  • The BMP requires qualified doctors to complete 3 years of RoSO in a regional, remote, or rural communities within 18 years of completing their medical degree.
  • Administration of the program has been simplified by moving from individual contract arrangements to a legislated program.
  • Greater flexibility and a wide range of options for participants on how their RoSO is completed within the Program’s required timeframe and stipulations.
  • Interactive web-based portal and mobile phone application known as the Bonded Return of Service System (BRoSS) has been introduced, allowing scholars to better understand and self-manage their obligations.
  • Support to all bonded participants is through the Rural Workforce Agencies.

Learn more on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website, including the following fact sheets:

  • What are the reforms?
  • New Applicant Information
  • Bonded Return of Service System
  • Role of Rural Workforce Agencies


Bonded students

Rural Doctors Network is committed to supporting and providing tailored services to bonded students including:

  • Updates to Department of Health reforms
  • Providing resources and advice on the reformed Bonded Medical Program
  • Opportunities to experience living and working in a rural area, including hands-on clinical workshops and social events. Check out our Go Rural, Outreach Student Placement Program, and Bush Bursaries and Country Women's Association Scholarships opportunities. 
  • Career planning advice for students with a return of service commitment with the Department
  • Connecting Bonded Program participants to vacancies that will meet their contractual requirements at the end of their training.


> Find out more

Our Future Workforce Team is ready to provide support and services for you. Please contact 02 4924 8000 or  bondedsupport@nswrdn.com.au


Bonded Doctor

Bonded doctors play an essential and valued role in helping remote and rural communities access health care services. RDN support for bonded doctors who have a return of service obligation in rural NSW includes:

  • Providing doctors with updates to Department of Health reforms
  • Providing resources and advice on the reformed Bonded Medical Program
  • Working to assess a doctor’s individual needs and identifying strategies to support transition to general practice in rural NSW
  • Access to the largest database of current GP and GP locum vacancies in NSW
  • Introducing doctors to the practice that best suits their professional and personal needs
  • Access to grants for site visits, relocation, Continuing Professional Development and RDN annual conferences for eligible doctors
  • A welcome kit when commencing a new role, to connect doctors with information, services and networks
  • Access to the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Scholarship Program to apply for funding to upskill.


> Find out more

Our Recruitment Team is ready to provide tailored recruitment assistance, guidance and support for you. Please contact 02 4924 8000 or recruit@nswrdn.com.au



Bonded Medical Program Student Information Booklet

Department of Health website


Email students@nswrdn.com.au if you would like any more help learning about the exciting opportunities of a rural health career.

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