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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 2017 there were:

  • 2,039 rural NSW GPs (excluding registrars)
  • 2,567 rural NSW GPs including registrars in 652 practices in Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) 2-5
  • 672 rural NSW GPs who are Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) in rural hospitals in RA 2-5
  • 241 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 stands at 705 (at 31 December 2016). The need to replace these doctors as they retire or leave rural practice poses a significant challenge, not least because this cohort of doctors takes 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
  • Rural GP Vacancies – six-monthly rural NSW GP Vacancies reports.