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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 31 December 2018 there were:

  • 2,061 rural NSW GPs (excluding registrars)
  • 2,562 rural NSW GPs including registrars in 651 practices in Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) 2-5
  • 515 rural NSW GPs who are Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) in rural hospitals in MMM 2-7
  • 266 GP vacancies registered with RDN in rural towns.

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 proportion of GPs aged over 55 years, which stands at 33% of the rural GP workforce at 31.12.2018. 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.