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HWSP FAQ

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 update on courses supported through the HWSP

We understand COVID-19 may impact your ability to complete your funded course, training or conference as outlined in your contract. If you experience any changes, please contact The HWSP Team on hwsp@nswrdn.com.au as soon as possible to discuss your options.

What is the Health Workforce Scholarship Program?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) provides scholarships and bursaries to help health professionals in rural and remote Australia retain and enhance their skills, capacity and scope of practice. The Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health, administered in New South Wales by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN).

The Program is available to medical, nursing, midwifery, allied health, dental and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals providing primary health care in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector (ACCHS) sector, non-government organisations and private practice.

Under the HWSP, health professionals providing 15+ hours per week of face to face clinical service in rural and remote locations (MMM 3-7), or in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) in any NSW or ACT location, can apply for scholarships or bursaries to pursue further education or attend training courses.

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Who manages the Program?

The Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health, administered in New South Wales by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN). 

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Who is eligible for the Program?

To be eligible for a scholarship or bursary, you must be a health professional and meet all the following criteria:

  1. Hold a primary professional qualification and/or are working in an existing primary health care role; and
  2. Provide (or demonstrate through a service or employment agreement that you are about to provide) 15+ hours per week of face to face primary clinical health service in rural NSW (MMM 3-7 locations); or in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) located within a MMM 1 - 7 location; and
  3. Work in the fields of medicine, nursing, midwifery, allied health, dentistry or Aboriginal health; and
  4. Propose to undertake study or upskilling activities that will fill the established, high priority gaps in primary health service provision within their community; and
  5. Be willing, if required, to commit to a Return of Service Obligation (RoSO) for 12 months; and
  6. Provide primary care services primarily in the private (non-NSW Government) sector.

Please note that applications will be assessed on a case by case basis in line with RDN's Primary Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA) and community need.

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Who is not eligible for the Program?

Any health professional employed solely or primarily by the NSW Government (i.e. employed in a public hospital, TAFE or school) is not eligible to apply. Please refer to NSW Health or your government agency for scholarship opportunities.

However, please note that applications will be considered on a case by case basis from health professionals employed by the NSW Government  but are providing vital primary health services in rural and remote areas identified as a priority in line with RDN's Primary Health Workforce Needs Assessment  (HWNA).

Please note that HWSP is unalbe to funding for applicants who are only providing telehealth services to rural or remote locations.

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What is the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program offers two types of funding:

  1. Scholarships: Payments up to $10,000 per year, for up to two years, toward the cost of completing a postgraduate course leading to a postgraduate qualification
  2. Bursaries: Payments up to $10,000 (maximum of $10,000 in total in one year) for professional development and upskilling course fees and associated accommodation and travel-related expenses

The maximum in any financial year is $10,000 per persn and can be a combination of scholarship and bursary funding. 

The type of funding offered will depend on the type of study undertaken.

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Can more than one application per year be made be made?

Yes, you can make more than one application in a 12-month period, to the total value of $10,000 per financial year.

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Are applicants working in NSW but living in another state or territory eligible to apply?

Yes, the Health Workforce Scholarship Program is open to health professionals who work and provide face to face services to MMM 3-7 rural and remote communities throughout NSW. However, please note that you cannot apply to both the state you reside in and in NSW for the same funding or for funds that exceed the limit of $10,000. 

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Can applicants working in rural locations outside of NSW apply?

Yes, the health Workforce Scholarship Program is open to health professionals who work and provide services in eligible locations throughout Australia.  Applicnts working outside of NSW should apply for a scholarship or bursary through the relevant State or Territory Rural Workforce Agency:

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What are MMM 3-7 locations?

The Modified Monash Model (MMM) is a geographical classification system that categorises metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and town size.

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is available to privately employed health professionals providing face to face clinical health services to areas categorised as MMM 3-7.

Health professionals providing primary health care services in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) can be located within a MMM 1-7 location.

To find the classification of a specific location, go to the DoctorConnect website.

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What professions can apply?

Health professionals rgistered with a peak governing body may apply.  This includes:

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/Practitioner

Arts Therapist

Audiologist

Chiropractor

Dentist & Oral Health Therpist

Dietitian

Exercise Physiologist

Medical Practitioner

Midwife

Music Therapist

Nurse

Occupational Therapist

Optometrist

Orthotist

Orthopist

Osteopath

Pharmacist

Physiotherapist

Podiatrist

Prosthetist

Psychologist

Radiographer

Social Worker

Sonographer

Speech Pathologist

 

 

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I AM AN EMPLOYER. CAN I APPLY ON BEHALF OF MY EMPLOYEES?

Unfortunately, you are not eligible to apply on behalf of your employees for the HWSP. Only applications from individuals will be accepted.

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I AM A STUDENT. AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Unfortunately, students (not yet a registered health professional) are not eligible to apply.

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What kind of training and study will be supported?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program supports a wide range of study and training options, including: 

  • University postgraduate courses: Certificates, Diplomas, Masters, PhDs
  • Short courses, workshops, conferences and seminars
  • Vocational Education and Training courses e.g. Australian Skills Quality Authorisation (ASQA) recognised training packages
  • Training that meets the professional development requirements of the applicant’s professional registration and/or association
  • Recognised industry skills training and upskilling for individual health professionals.

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Retrospective costs - this is any course already started or completed including online courses where access starts as soon as you pay
  • Undergraduate degrees
  • Overseas face to face courses
  • Study fully funded by other sources
  • Non-clinical training e.g. leadership, management or using software/sytems 
  • IT or IT related equipment
  • Upskilling where a course completion certificate or proof of attendance is not issued
  • Textbooks, equipment, membership fees, exam fees, subscriptions
  • Meal expenses
  • Taxi and Uber fares, transfers, parking fees or similar
  • Activities for which other Commonwealth, State or Local Government bodies have primary responsibility. This includes training for health professionals working solely or primarily in a public hospital.

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What amount of funding is available?

Scholarship funding

Health Workforce Scholarship Program postgraduate scholarships provide funds for enrolled subjetcs per study period (i.e. semester, trimester etc) up to a maximum of $10,000 per financial year. 

Applicants must submit a new application for each study period for up to 2 years of the same postgraduate study program.   

Scholarship allocation will be determined against the perceived workforce benefit of the training and scholarships must be directly related to training and upskilling primary health professionals who will provide face to face clinical services to rural and remote areas. 

Bursary funding

Health Workforce Scholarship Program bursaries involve payments up to $10,000 that contribute toward the cost of training or course fees as well as certain training related expenses such as accommodation and travel where appropriate. Bursaries must be directly related to training and upskilling health professionals who are providing or planning (with evidence) to provide primary face to face clinical health services to rural and remote areas.

Applicants can make more than one application in a financial year provided the funding requested does not exceed the limit of $10,000.

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What training and skill needs have been identified as a priority?

RDN has worked with stakeholders to identify regional and local health workforce skills and capacity needs through an annual Primary Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA). The HWNA forms the basis for determining the allocation of scholarships and bursaries.

The following upskilling and training areas have been identified in the HWNA:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care
  • Aged care and associated conditions
  • Children and young people 
  • Chronic disease management
  • Culturally safe practices and practitioners 
  • End of life/palliative care
  • Improve patient health literacy and self-management
  • Mental health management 
  • Severe and complex conditions
  • Team/coordinated patient care

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What is the application process?

Before you apply you will need to:

  1. Assess your eligibility by reading the HWSP Applicant Guidelines
  2. Set up a MyRDN account
  3. Collect your supporting documentation
  4. Submit your application via the MyRDN portal.
  5. You will be notified of the progress of your application.

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Are all applicants guaranteed a scholarship or bursary?

No. Successful applicants must meet all the Health Workforce Scholarship Program eligibility criteria to be considered for a scholarship or bursary. All applications are then assessed against the needs of the community. Scholarships and bursaries will be awarded to those who wish to undertake study and training that help to fill a service gap or address the health needs of specific communities. Funding for this progam is provided through the Department of Health and Aged Care and will be awarded while funding is available each financial year.

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What is a Return of Service Obligation?

A Return of Service Obligation (RoSO) will be determined as part of the Health Workforce Scholarship Program application process. The RoSO will be clearly stated in the successful applicant’s contract with the RDN, which the applicant will need to sign before commencing the activity.

All applicants awarded a scholarship will be committed to a ROSO. Applicants receiving bursaries equal to or greater than $5,000, or a course of study longer than 6 months are required to commit to a RoSO of 12 months. 

A RoSO requires the applicant to maintain eligible employment during their funded study period and then for 12 months after the study period is finished. During the RoSO period, applicants are required to complete regularly scheduled case management calls and to provide evidence of continued employment and course marks/results as appropriate.

Where a health professional accepts a scholarship or a bursary and does not complete the required service obligations as stated in their contract, RDN will seek to recover funding provided to successful applicants.

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What is Case Management?

Successful applicants will be case managed by the RDN throughout their scholarship or bursary activity.  Usually this means a phone call every six months to discuss the skills you are learning and the implementation of them relevant to the value of the scholarship or bursary and the scope of any Return of Service Obligation (RoSO).

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Is the scholarship means tested?

No. All applications to the Health Workforce Scholarship Program are assessed against the needs of the community.

Scholarships and bursaries will be awarded to those who wish to undertake study and training that help fill a service gap or address the health needs of specific communities.

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How long will my application take to process?

Applicants are notified by email of the outcome of their application within 2-4 weeks of submitting an application. However, this time may vary depending on the number of applications received as all applications are processed in the order they arrive.

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Further information?

Please contact RDN for further information about the Health Workforce Scholarship Program on email or phone +61 2 4924 8000.

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